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. 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 due to neglect deserves to be compensated for the ill treatment they have received from nursing home staff. If your loved one has suffered from pressure ulcers during a nursing home stay, contact the attorneys at Pfeifer Law Firm to talk about your loved one’s rights.
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 location too long, 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 bedsores include heels, ankles, hips, and tailbones because they are all bony protrusions. If a nursing home resident requires any medical devices such as an oxygen mask or an orthopedic brace, the consistent contact with one area of the body can also lead to pressure ulcers.
Symptoms of a Bedsore
Pressure ulcers are initially a tender spot that may have a slight change in skin color or temperature. As symptoms progress the skin may cut open or blisters may form. If left untreated a pressure ulcer can develop pus, a putrid smell, and become infected. If a 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 and then speak to a knowledgeable Arkansas nursing home 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. Most bedsores can be prevented if a nursing home resident is being given the proper care. An investigation into the reason for the bedsore can determine whether negligence was the cause. 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 a bedsore;
- 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 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 and developed pressure ulcers as a result of this lack of care, the attorneys at Pfeifer Law Firm can help. We will represent you and seek compensation for the injuries. By speaking up you will also prevent others from suffering similar consequences from the nursing home staff’s poor patient care. Contact us online or call us today at 501-374-4440 to learn how we can help you.