Pressure ulcers, also referred to as pressure sores or bedsores, are injuries to skin and underlying tissues that result from prolonged pressure on the skin.1 Pressure ulcers often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body including the heels, ankles, buttocks, or hips.
Pressure ulcers can be alleviated and potentially prevented if a resident is turned by a staff member every two hours. Unfortunately, many staff members do not perform this daily task.
Pressure ulcers fall under four stages, based on severity. In-depth description of the varying degrees of severity of pressure sores.
Residents who are in wheelchairs are a higher risk for pressure sores than those who are not because of their lack of mobility. Nursing home care is expected to monitor residents for fever and any increased heat or redness surrounding an area because pressure ulcers can lead to severe infections. In 2004, the National Nursing Home Survey found that about 159,000 current U.S. nursing home residents had pressure ulcers, among which Stage II was the most common.2
Complications of pressure ulcers include:
Sepsis: Bacteria enters your bloodstream through the broken skin and spreads throughout your body, a rapidly progressing condition that can lead to organ failure
Cellulitis: An acute infection that can lead to sepsis as well as meningitis, an infection of the membrane and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord
Bone and joint infections: Osteomyelitis (bone infection) reduces the function of joints and limbs and infectious arthritis (a joint infection) can damage cartilage and tissue
Cancer: A kind of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma can develop in chronic, nonhealing wounds and usually requires surgical treatment.3
Pressure ulcers can be very serious and many long-term care facilities and skilled care facilities that are understaffed do not have the resources to turn each and every resident to meet their individualized needs. This form of neglect is severe and can lead to serious harm to your loved one if left unchecked.
If a loved one of yours has developed pressure ulcers due to nursing home neglect contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates today at 800-985-1819.