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Personal Injury Law Blog

Are bed sores a sign of nursing home neglect?

When you visit a loved one in a South Carolina nursing home, he or she should always appear clean and well cared for. It’s understandable that you might feel quite concerned if, for instance, you arrive for a visit and your family member has unexplained injuries or marks on his or her body. If the marks are bed sores, it may be a sign of neglect or substandard care.

The medical term for a bedsore is “decubitus ulcer.” Such an injury may be present in various stages, from mild to severe. In worst cases, a bedsore may become infected, and the patient in question could wind up in a life-threatening situation. If your loved one has bed sores, it’s important to investigate the cause.

Friction is a primary cause of bedsores

Have you ever sat in the same position for an extended period of time, then experienced soreness later? If your loved one resides in a nursing home, the staff who provides care is undoubtedly aware of how important it is that he or she is able to change positions and move around every day. If your loved one is immobile without assistance, caretakers should be helping him or her to move and change positions, every few hours.

If a bedsheet or clothing is constantly rubbing up against a part of the body, such as behind the knees, the buttocks, hips, lower legs or lower back, it doesn’t take long for an ulcer to form. Medical staff in a nursing home know how to use pillows to help reduce pressure on various parts of the body, which aids in preventing bed sores. They also know just how to lift or move a person to avoid causing friction on the skin.

Bed sores typically worsen with time

If your loved one has only recently developed a bed sore, it might appear as a minor skin discoloration without the skin being broken. As the condition progresses, you might notice a blister-like sore or pus oozing from an open wound. If the sore looks like a crater and is malodorous, this is a sign that your loved one’s condition is worsening.

Tissues of the skin that appear black may be necrotic. This means that there is dead tissue. If there is green pus, inflammation, or your loved one develops a fever, it suggests that the bed sores have become infected.

What to do if you suspect nursing neglect

Round-the-clock supervision doesn’t 100% guarantee that your love done will never suffer injuries in a nursing home. However, the average nursing staff is well aware of measures that can be taken to help patients prevent bed sores. If you suspect that substandard nursing care is the cause of your loved one’s bed sores, you may request a meeting with administrators of the facility.

If you’re not satisfied with the explanations they give you, or you believe that your family member’s health and safety are at risk, you may want to seek support from a patient advocate to help you resolve the situation. Many people seek legal support to help them protect their loved ones’ rights and to make sure that those who have caused injuries are held accountable for their actions.