Nursing home neglect is a very serious issue that can have horrible consequences for elderly people. Neglect can take many forms, but it often manifests in bedsores. Bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are a common problem for elderly people and those with limited mobility. These sores develop as a result of constant pressure in the same localized area. For example, an elderly person can begin to develop bedsores by lying or sitting in the same position for long periods without moving.
The severity of bedsore injuries can range greatly. A bedsore might cause mild redness or they can lead to deep, infected wounds that can be life-threatening for elderly people who often have weakened immune systems. Bedsores are nearly always preventable when patients are given adequate nutrition and are being properly cared for. But far too often, nursing home residents are neglected by staff that simply do not sufficiently care about their well-being. According to a report by the National Center on Elder Abuse, 50% of nursing home staff have admitted to mistreating the patients in their care. If you or someone that you love has developed bedsores while staying at a nursing home, you may have legal recourse. Attorney Anthony Makarov of Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. can evaluate the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know if you have a claim that can be pursued.
Not everyone is equally at risk for developing bedsores. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Being bedridden, unconscious, unable to sense pain, or immobile increases the risk that a bedsore will develop. The risk increases if the person is not turned, positioned correctly, or provided with proper nutrition and skin care. People with diabetes, circulation problems and malnutrition are at higher risk.” Bedsores are divided into four stages from least to most severe.
Bedsores are nearly always preventable and a major sign that elderly residents are not being properly cared for. To prevent bedsores, nursing home staff will need to regularly change a patient’s position. Elderly residents should also be given adequate nutrition and be properly hydrated. Special cushions and mattresses can also substantially lower the risk of a person developing bedsores. Healthcare providers may need to regularly inspect some patients for bedsores. If a bedsore is detected, treatment should begin as early as possible. Treatment is typically much more difficult by the time a bedsore develops into an open wound.
Elderly people often develop bedsores due to the neglect they experience at nursing homes. A study published in the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect found that nearly 44% of all residents at nursing homes experienced some form of neglect. One of the major issues at nursing homes is that they are not properly staffed. There may not be enough staff to properly care for all of the residents. Many other factors could contribute to the circumstances under which an elderly person may develop bedsores.
Preventing nursing home neglect is essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of all people who stay at nursing homes. Ideally, nursing home staff should be paid well enough to keep turnover to a minimum. Workers should also be properly trained in how to prevent bedsore and other ailments that elderly residents could develop. Moreover, nursing homes should be regularly inspected and monitored by an outside agency. No matter how nice any nursing home may seem, families and loved ones should always remain vigilant for signs of abuse or neglect. Any suspicions of abuse should be reported to the authorities.
Nursing home staff as well as doctors have a legal obligation to do all that they can to make sure that elderly people in their care do not develop bedsores. Both federal law and New York state law require nursing home facilities to implement safety measures and protocols for preventing bedsores. See, 42 CFR § 483.25 (b)(1)-(2) and 10 NYCRR § 415.12(c). According to the statutes, the resident of a nursing facility must receive care, consistent with professional standards, to prevent pressure ulcers from developing unless the individual’s clinical conditions make them unavoidable. If a resident does develop ulcers, they must receive the necessary treatment to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent additional ulcers from developing.
When staff at a nursing home fail to properly care for elderly residents, their employer could be liable. In general, nursing homes can be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees. There are numerous ways that a nursing home staff or doctors may have improperly cared for a resident which led to bedsores. Staff may have failed to regularly re-position the patient, thereby leaving one area of the body to hold all of the resident’s weight. Staff may have failed to provide adequate clothing changes to a resident which could have allowed for the early detection of bedsores. Staff may have failed to provide residents with adequate nutrition and hydration to prevent bedsores.
Bedsores and nursing home neglect in general can have profound long-term health consequences for elderly residents. Bedsores can lead to life-threatening infections and permanent damage when they are allowed to progress uninterrupted. Even after an elderly resident’s physical injuries have healed, the trauma that often comes with serious neglect can leave them scarred with anxiety and PTSD. There are a number of reasons why you should strongly consider hiring a bedsore attorney.
Nursing homes are supposed to take adequate care of their residents, but far too often this is not the case. They can become more concerned with making as much money as they can. In far too many situations, this is achieved by providing the least amount of care that is feasible. A bedsore accident attorney can help ensure that your voice is heard and that your rights are being protected. They can work on your behalf to get you the justice and compensation that you’re entitled to. If you suspect that your loved one is not being properly cared for at a nursing home, one of the best things that you can do for them is seek legal help.
If you or someone that you love has suffered from bedsores while staying at a nursing home, you may have legal recourse. With very rare exceptions, bedsores are completely preventable and a major sign of neglect. Elderly residents deserve to be treated with dignity, care, respect and love. When a nursing home fails to follow federal and state law and allows their residents to develop bedsores, they can be held accountable for their actions through a civil claim.
Attorney Anthony Makarov of Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. has spent his career helping accident victims and those who have suffered from nursing home abuse. Our legal team has decades of experience and will do everything that they can to get you the best outcome possible for your particular situation. In fact, we’ve recovered over $1 billion for our deserving clients. Whether you just have legal
questions or need any type of assistance we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 718-550-1447.