Nursing homes are designed to be a place where the elderly and chronically ill can be taken care of by compassionate, qualified staff. To ensure that these institutions are following the regulations, The Department of Human Services does unannounced surveys of each location. According to ProPublica, 73 of the 230 nursing homes in Arkansas have serious deficiencies. These are just the serious deficiencies that are being documented. This number doesn’t reflect the everyday cases of negligence that happen behind closed doors. One thing that surveyors look for is how many residents at the nursing home have bedsores. Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, can be a form of neglect, and anyone who suffers from them because of neglect deserves to be compensated for the ill-treatment they have received from the nursing home staff. If your loved one has suffered from pressure ulcers during a nursing home stay, contact Pfeifer Law Firm and talk with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
What are Pressure Ulcers and How do They Occur
Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin or the underlying tissue. They are caused by being in one position for an extended period of time, which puts continuous pressure on specific areas of the body. Nursing home patients who are bedridden or confined to wheelchairs will develop bedsores if their position is not changed frequently. Common places for bed sores include ankles, heels, tailbone, and hips because they are all bony areas of the body. If a nursing home resident requires any medical devices such as an oxygen mask or an orthopedic brace, consistent contact with one area of the body can also lead to pressure ulcers.
Symptoms of a Bedsore
Pressure ulcers are initially tender spots that may have a slight change in skin color or temperature. As symptoms progress, the skin may break open or blisters may form. If left untreated a pressure ulcer can develop pus, a putrid smell, and become infected. If the bedsore becomes infected the patient will likely experience flu-like symptoms such as chills, a fever, mental fog, and weakness. As soon as you suspect a nursing home resident is suffering due to neglect you should make sure they receive medical attention immediately and then speak to an experienced Arkansas abuse lawyer.
Pressure Ulcers are Preventable
According to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2.5 million Americans develop pressure ulcers. While symptoms can be treated, these ulcers are very painful and almost always preventable.
There are very few life-threatening reasons a medical device may not be repositioned. All other bedsores can be prevented if a nursing home resident is being given the proper care. A caretaker can help prevent pressure ulcers by:
- Asking questions about any pain or discomfort the resident may have;
- Observing any itching, grabbing, or pulling around areas that may have bedsores;
- Inspecting skin surrounding a medical device or in continuous contact with a bed or chair;
- Repositioning the resident’s weight at least every hour;
- Elevating the person’s bed;
- Keeping the resident’s skin clean and dry;
- Using cushions to relieve pressure in certain areas; and
- Changing the patient’s clothing and bedding frequently.
Contact an Arkansas Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
If your loved one was neglected in a nursing home, the attorneys at Pfeifer Law Firm can help. We will fight for justice and compensation for the injuries your loved one suffered. By speaking up, you will also prevent others from suffering similar consequences from the staff’s poor patient care. Let us be an advocate for you and your loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation at (501) 374-4440.