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Personal Injury Law Blog

Are bed sores a sign of nursing home negligence?

Helping your loved one transition to fully assisted living can be a comforting yet emotional and worrisome time. On one hand, you might feel relieved that your mother or father will have ’round-the-clock care and supervision available, especially if your own family and work obligations make it impossible for you to visit on a daily basis. One thing you should never have to worry about in a South Carolina assisted living facility is nursing home negligence.

Sadly, however, not only is this a problematic issue in many areas, many nursing home patients have suffered severe illness or injuries due to substandard care. One issue that concerns many adult children who are helping a parent adapt to life in a nursing home is bed sores. Are they preventable, and is having them a sign of nursing home negligence?

Nursing home care providers know how to prevent bed sores

A properly trained caretaker in a nursing home understands what to do to reduce the chance of your loved one developing bed sores. Such sores can be painful and place your family member at risk for severe, even life-threatening, infection. Care providers are supposed to adhere to protocol and accepted safety standards that help them help patients avoid bed sores.

Nursing home care providers can help your loved one avoid bed sores by making sure that he or she changes body positions every few hours. Assistance is especially critical if your parent is immobile. If your loved one is in a wheelchair, nursing home staff should help him or her change positions every 15 minutes or so. Adequate skin care, as well as proper nutrition and hydration, also help prevent bed sores. When lifting or moving your loved one, nursing staff use certain procedures and tools to avoid bed sores.

Always investigate if you notice injuries, such as bed sores, on your loved one

Friction between clothing material, bed linens or hard surfaces and a person’s skin is the primary cause of bed sores. If your loved one has not changed positions often enough, pressure may build up on his or her buttocks, behind the knees, at the back of the head or other areas of the body, causing friction and resulting in bed sores.

If you notice bed sores on your loved one’s body, it is always best to request a meeting with nursing home staff members and administrators to discuss the issue. It is also important for your loved one to obtain immediate medical treatment, lest the sores become inflamed, infected or abscessed. A festering bed sore can quickly become a life-threatening situation to a nursing home patient.

What to do if you suspect nursing home negligence

This is an upsetting topic because it is something that should never occur in a South Carolina nursing home or any assisted living facility throughout the country. If you believe substandard care might be causing your loved one to be ill or suffer injuries, you are entitled to an explanation. There should be a clear-cut answer as to why your loved one has bruises or was wearing soiled clothing or has bed sores.

If you are not satisfied with the explanation staff members provide, you may further investigate the situation, even turning to local law enforcement or legal advocates for support, if needed.