Pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or bed-sores, are common in elderly adults who are not properly cared for or neglected. They are especially prevalent among those who reside in nursing homes, often as a direct result of neglect by caregivers.
Pressure sores can occur when a patient remains in one position without moving, putting pressure on one area of the body for an extended period of time. There are varying degrees of seriousness, but all levels require an attentive and qualified staff. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to take preventive measures, such as repositioning their patients, in order to decrease the risk of pressure sores developing or getting wore.
Treatments for pressure sores also require a high amount of involvement from qualified and well-trained nurses.
One type of treatment involves multi-layer bandaging of pressure sores, as well as special footwear for patients. This treatment has proven to be highly beneficial to patients with pressure sores, as it improves healing and increases overall quality of life. However, despite its benefits, this practice is not commonly used in skilled nursing facilities.
In a recent study, the Australian Wound Management Association and the New Zealand Wound Care Society sought to discover the reason for such low usage of bandaging practices in nursing homes. They hypothesized that, perhaps, lack of funding was the reason for the low usage of bandage treatments in nursing homes. Two different groups were formed to conduct the study. One group received funding for bandage treatments and the special footwear that it requires, while the other group did not receive any funding. However, in the end, both groups were found to have the same rate of usage of bandage treatments. Because there was no significant difference between the group that received funding and the group that did not, the researchers concluded that usage of bandaging in skilled nursing facilities is not effected by the cost of treatment or lack of funding. Instead, the study discovered that the reason for such low usage of bandaging in nursing homes is directly related to staffing issues.
Although the cost of special footwear is substantial, the most expensive requirement for the treatment of pressure sores is nursing care. Because it is such a high cost, care facilities often opt out and hire less staff in attempts to save money and increase profits. However, adequate staffing is absolutely necessary for the proper treatment and prevention of pressure sores. Nurses must also be qualified and knowledgeable. The study found that often times, bandaging was not used because nurses failed to notice the onset of a pressure sore or poorly assessed its level of severity and therefore were unable to provide immediate treatment to patients. In homes that do use bandaging, the study discovered that nurses were often applying the bandages incorrectly, thus lowering the effectiveness of the treatment.
It is of utmost importance that your loved one receives that care to which he or she is entitled.
If your loved one suffers from pressure sores, you must ensure that he or she is receiving proper treatment from a knowledgeable and qualified staff. However, as specialists in Los Angeles nursing home abuse litigation, we firmly believe that the development of pressure sores is reprehensible, as they are avoidable with proper staffing and prevention techniques. If you feel that your loved one is at risk of developing pressure sores as a result of inadequate staffing, please contact us today to see how we can help attain your loved one’s rights and put an end to his or her suffering.