Pressure ulcers are severe and sometimes life-threatening medical conditions that affect a high number of patients and residents living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Several studies show that as high as one-in-five patients and residents of these facilities have experienced signs of a pressure ulcer at some point in their admission.
Pressure ulcers are a form of elder abuse and neglect and are often caused by nursing home staff failing to care for the basic needs of a patient or resident. These injuries do not happen instantaneously. It is important to understand how to prevent pressure ulcers to ensure that you or your loved one is receiving the best medical care possible. Contact a Los Angeles nursing home lawyer if you believe that your loved one has been a victim of this type of neglect.
What Are Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers, which are also referred to as pressure sores or bed sores, are skin and tissue injuries caused by persistent pressure or friction to certain areas of the body. The most common areas for pressure ulcers are the back, buttocks, elbows, hips, heels, and ankles. Patients and residents with limited mobility, especially people in wheelchairs or who are bed-bound, have a greater risk for pressure ulcers than others because they typically spend long periods of time in one position.
Pressure ulcers are measured in “stages” of severity, from a “stage one” wound to a “stage four” wound. In addition to being extremely painful, pressure ulcers can also lead to numerous complications, including severe infection, cellulitis, sepsis, and even cancer, all of which can ultimately lead to death.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes and care facilities are understaffed and do not have the resources needed to prevent the formation of pressure ulcers for each patient or resident. Nursing home and care facility staff are also frequently uneducated and untrained on how to properly prevent and treat pressure ulcers. This is a serious form of elder neglect and can lead to severe harm and even death to you or your loved one if left unaddressed. A nursing home attorney in Los Angeles may be able to provide help if you believe that your loved one has developed pressure ulcers as a result of nursing home neglect.
How Can Pressure Ulcers Be Prevented?
- Frequent monitoring: Nursing homes and care facilities are expected to frequently monitor patients and residents for warning signs of pressure ulcers to ensure that patients are properly treated.
- Proper nutrition: People, especially older adults, need the proper amount of food, water, and nutrients to maintain a healthy body and prevent the breakdown of skin and tissue.
- Turning and repositioning: The most common method to prevent the formation of pressure ulcers is turning and repositioning a patient’s body so that pressure can be alleviated from trouble areas. Typically, a patient must be turned or repositioned every two hours in order to avoid the development of a bed sore. Unfortunately, many nursing homes and care facilities do not routinely reposition their patients and residents as often as they should.
- Low-air mattresses, pressure redistribution mattresses and devices, and pillows: Sometimes nursing home patients are unable to be turned and repositioned for several reasons that restrict mobility. In cases like these, nursing homes and care facilities are expected to use alternative methods, including low-air mattresses, pressure redistribution mattresses and devices, such as specialty cushions and heel-lift boots, and even pillows to reduce and eliminate the chances a patient will develop a pressure ulcer.
Get in touch with a Los Angeles nursing home lawyer if your loved one has developed pressure ulcers as a result of abuse or neglect.
Contact an Elder Abuse Attorney Today
The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi exclusively represent victims of elder abuse and can help you if you or a loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or care facility. Our Los Angeles-based attorneys have extensive experience litigating nursing home cases involving bed sores and pressure ulcers. To learn more, visit our website or contact us at (310) 623-1926.