Deciding to house a loved one in a nursing home or assisted care facility is never easy. You will often pour over countless websites, review numerous brochures and go on countless in person visits, all to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of your ailing or disabled family member or friend. Even after making the final decision, many often agonize over whether they’ve made the right choice.
Finding out down the road that this same facility has neglected or abused that same infirm or older relative, often through the presence of bed sores, can cause severe stress, guilt and leave you wondering how the situation could have been allowed to happen in a seemingly professional facility. If this scenario sounds familiar, your loved one may have legal recourse against the caregiver, institution or larger healthcare management company. Here we break down everything you need to know to protect the legal rights of your loved one if they develop bed or pressure sores in a case of nursing home abuse.
What Causes Bed and Pressure Sores
Bed Sores, or pressure sores, are a common indication of elder abuse in the nursing home setting. These pernicious injuries occur when a patient remaining in the same position for an extended period. More than just a few hours, pressure sores often take days of stationary positioning to develop. If left untreated, bed sores can become larger and develop an infection, posing serious health consequences for elderly or patients who are already immunocompromised.
While some patients may have underlying conditions that make them more prone to developing sores, with proper repositioning and attentive care, these injuries can be avoided in even the most difficult of scenarios. Proper hydration and nutrition also play a part in the prevention of bedsores, along with inadequate bedding and lack of training of staff on the proper body alignment for those who or immobile or confined to their beds or wheelchair.
Pre-Existing Pressure Sores and Nursing Home Abuse
If a patient enters a nursing home facility and has pre-existing bed sores, the facility has an affirmative responsibility to provide adequate care and medical treatment. This includes administering medications that manage the current sores and close supervision to ensure additional sores do not develop. If left untreated, pressure sores can worsen or spread to a systematic infection, the nursing home could be guilty of abuse and your loved one in need of legal protection of their rights.
Prevention and Care Rights
For those entering without the presence of bed or pressure sores, a nursing home has the affirmative obligation to ensure that bed sores do not develop in the absence of a medical condition or illness that makes them unavoidable. Conditions that prevent movement, such as severe disability or certain blood pressure conditions made worse by movement, can still be managed with careful, attentive medical and physical treatment. The presence of a medical condition that presupposes a patient to developing bed sores does not let a care facility off the hook for legal liability if a patient develops sores under their care.
In instances where a resident does not suffer these medical conditions, the presence of bed sores is typically an indication of abuse or neglect. In addition to costs associated with relocating your loved one to another nursing home or care facility, the negligent facility may also have to compensate your loved one for their physical pain and suffer and can potentially face additional damages geared towards punishing the facility. In severe cases, the nursing home may be required to undergo heightened inspections or even cease operation until they can provide an adequate level of care.
If your loved one has developed bed or pressure sores or has had a pre-existing condition worsen under the care of a nursing home or care facility they may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries. Residents and their family and friends should feel free to consult with legal counsel, like a nursing home lawyer Brookhaven GA trusts, specifically lawyers with experience in nursing home and elder abuse, to ensure protection of the patient’s rights and that they are made whole after suffering from neglect or abuse.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into nursing home abuse.