Nursing home neglect is a horrible issue that is much more prevalent than many realize. While the Ohio Attorney General has recently begun to closely monitor facilities to prevent nursing home neglect and abuse, it is still a problem.
There is no excuse for nursing home patients to develop bed sores. If facilities have the proper care and monitoring of residents, pressure sores would not be an issue because they would be completely prevented or diagnosed in a timely manner. If your loved one is a resident at a nursing home facility in Ohio and they have had bed sores due to the facilities failure to monitor, you may be able to file a nursing home abuse claim against the facility. Medical malpractice claims can be filed in the event that a patient receives improper treatment or when there is an unnecessary delay in treatment, causing the condition to worsen.
Pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores, affect people who cannot move around very easily. This becomes a problem at nursing home facilities if the nurses and workers do not care for patients as they are confined to their bed or wheelchair.
A bed sore occurs when skin and tissue breakdown from continued pressure and poor circulation. As the skin breaks down, the sore begins to develop, first with reddened skin, and then in some cases the sore causes destruction of the muscle or even the bone underneath the skin.
Persons at Risk for Bed Sores
Those at risk of developing bed sores are people who have the following risk factors:
- Poor nutrition
- Continued moisture (urine or feces)
- Confinement to bed or wheelchair
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hip fractures
- Other medical problems
To prevent bed sores, the most important thing once can do is to avoid continuous pressure on one part of the body. This can, unfortunately, be difficult to prevent if a person is in a nursing home facility, relying on the care of the staff, and the staff does not provide the proper care.
Stages of Bed Sores
There are four stages of bed sores, according to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). The stages are listed below: Taken from the NPUAP website
Stage I: Non-blanchable erythema
Intact skin with non-blanchable redness of a localized area usually over a bony prominence. Darkly pigmented skin may not have visible blanching; its color may differ from the surrounding area. The area may be painful, firm, soft, warmer or cooler as compared to adjacent tissue. This stage may be difficult to detect in individuals with dark skin tones. May indicate “at risk” persons.
Stage 2: Partial Thickness
Partial thickness loss of dermis presenting as a shallow open ulcer with a red-pink wound bed, without slough. May also present as an intact or open/ruptured serum-filled or sero-sanginous filled blister. Presents as a shiny or dry shallow ulcer without slough or bruising*. This category should not be used to describe skin tears, tape burns, incontinence associated dermatitis, maceration or excoriation.
Stage 3: Full Thickness Skin Loss
Full thickness tissue loss. Subcutaneous fat may be visible but bone, tendon or muscles are not exposed. Slough may be present but does not obscure the depth of tissue loss. May include undermining and tunneling. The depth of this stage of pressure ulcer varies by anatomical location. The bridge of the nose, ear, occiput, and malleolus do not have (adipose) subcutaneous tissue and stage three ulcers can be shallow. In contrast, areas of significant adiposity can develop extremely deep pressure ulcers. Bone/tendon is not visible or directly palpable.
Stage 4: Full Thickness Tissue Loss
Full thickness tissue loss with exposed bone, tendon or muscle. Slough or eschar may be present. Often includes undermining and tunneling. The depth of a pressure ulcer in this stage varies by anatomical location. The bridge of the nose, ear, occiput, and malleolus do not have (adipose) subcutaneous tissue and these ulcers can be shallow.These ulcers can extend into muscle and/or support structures (e.g., fascia, tendon or joint capsule) making osteomyelitis or osteitis likely to occur. Exposed bone/muscle is visible or directly palpable.
Filing a Legal Claim
There should be the proper procedures in place to prevent bed sores from ever elevating throughout the four above stages. If your loved one is a resident in an Ohio nursing home facility and they have developed a bed sore due to improper care, call our Ohio nursing home negligence lawyers. Our legal team can help your family receive justice for the pain that your loved one was put through, and receive compensation for the injuries that were suffered. Call our office today to ask any questions that you may have, and to receive a free case evaluation.