Maine Nursing Home Neglect
When a nursing home patient remains in the same position in a wheelchair or bed for an extended time, they can easily develop a bedsore. The applied pressure restricts oxygen rich blood from reaching the area, which inflames the skin and surrounding tissue. After just a few hours of immobility, fluid filled blisters and red spots can develop into a pressure ulcer (bedsore; pressure sore; decubitus ulcer) requiring immediate treatment.
It is the duty of nursing home staff to readjust the position of bedridden patients at least one time every two hours to prevent the development of a pressure ulcer. In addition, the nurses and nursing aides are required to relieve the pressure of individuals in wheelchairs for the same reason. However, many nursing homes are filled to capacity without enough trained staff to ensure these adjustments are made in a timely manner. A Sign of Neglect When A Loved One Develops a Pressure Sore at a Maine Medical Facility
Based on the severity of the wound and the health of the patient, most pressure ulcers are easily identified in the early stages (Stages I & II). As a bedsore develops, significant damage in the underlying tissue has not yet formed. At this stage, if the staff is paying close attention to the skin integrity of every patient, many pressure sores can be avoided.
In 2007 the United States CMS (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services) began labeling a Stage III & IV pressure ulcer (full thickness bedsore) as a “never event.” To the CMS, these types of highly advanced ulcers are completely preventable using reasonable proven protocols. This means that most advanced stages of pressure sores are avoidable and often caused by obvious neglect by the staff.
Far too many Maine nursing homes have not implemented effective programs to identify and treat patients with an increased risk of developing a pressure ulcer. These high-risk patients tend to be:
- Age 65 years or older who experience diminished capillary blood circulation and minimal fat underneath the skin
- Suffering a condition that affects their mobility including cognitive impairment, sedation, spinal cord injury, or a prolonged stay in a hospital
- Suffering extended exposure to some type of skin irritant including lying in their own feces, urine or moisture
- Suffering impaired capacity to properly heal a wound that might be the result of malnourishment, arterial disease or diabetes
Every nursing facility in the state of Maine is duty bound to follow federal and state regulations when providing patient care. Any failure to do so is considered negligence, where the facility can have their licensing revoked.
Negligence is often the root cause of nearly all facility-acquired bedsores. Sadly, pressure ulcers are often the underlying cause of many avoidable patient deaths in nursing facilities. Unfortunately, nursing home administrators often persuade family members that pressure sores are just a common occurrence of the aging population. However, that is not true.
When family members detect a bedsore on a loved one, it is essential to take legal action against the facility and hold all those at fault accountable for their negligence. In fact, many family members will hire a Maine pressure ulcer attorney to file a lawsuit or claim to stop the negligence. The attorney will also seek compensation to provide adequate funds to hire skilled medical specialists to properly treat the pressure ulcer of their loved one.Taking Legal Action for a Maine Bed Sore
Below is a list of reputable Maine pressure ulcer attorneys who specialize in negligent cases involving elderly, disabled and infirmed nursing home patients. The lawyers offer a variety of legal options to stop the negligence. They have instant access to medical professionals with special training to treat serious life-threatening pressure ulcers, and offer their services in cities throughout Maine including:
- South Portland
If your loved one is suffering a bedsore acquired in the nursing home, fill and submit the contact form here to schedule a no obligation free consultation with a legal specialist listed below. These Maine nursing home negligence lawyers accept cases on contingency, meaning no upfront fees are required to seek financial compensation for your family’s damages and losses.