For many nursing home residents, daily life is far from active. For residents confined to bed or a wheelchair for long periods, the risk of developing bed sores is considerable. Unfortunately, the most important statement about bed sores when it comes to holding a nursing home or similar facility liable for allowing a resident to develop them is “you can prevent them a lot more easily than you can treat them.” The second most important is “the sooner you catch them, the easier the treatment.”
The reality is that bed sores can be prevented by diligence and attention to the residents at risk for them. But that reality too often conflicts with the reality of nursing homes understaffed by people poorly trained and paid very low wages. The nursing home won’t be held accountable without the help of an Phoenix bed sores lawyer, so it is important to seek consultation if you or a loved one has fallen a victim of bed sores or any other injuries resulting from nursing home neglect.
Bed sores—also known as pressure sores—are injuries to skin and the tissues beneath the skin, from friction and prolonged pressure, which disrupts the blood supply. Nursing home residents who remain in the same position for long periods experience great pressure on the parts of their bodies that are in contact with the surface of the bed or chair. That pressure is greatest in the bony areas—tailbone, hips, heels etc. The tissues between the bed or chair surface and the bone are, in essence, crushed to the point that lack of blood eventually erodes the tissue and causes an open sore.
Bed sores are caused by numerous events, all stemmed from negligent care by the caregiver. These include:
If sores are discovered early, only the outer skin superficial fatty tissues will be involved. At that stage, the sores can be treated relatively easily, mostly with nursing care. Even at this stage though, a resident already in poor health is exposed to additional discomfort, pain, and itching.
The longer the sores go undetected, the more tissues will be involved. Treatment is likely to be surgical if muscle and bone are affected. The consequences can be catastrophic in the most advanced cases:
The risk of bed sores in nursing homes is well known. The facility should be aware of each resident’s mobility or immobility, and the bed sore risk that entails, and have a care plan in place to prevent bed sores. The nursing home staff should be properly trained to:
In Arizona, nursing home residents who suffered bed sores due to the facility’s improper care can sue for damages under the Adult Protective Services Act (APSA). If successful, the law allows recovery of all damages that resulted from the improper care, as well as the possibility of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Most nursing homes are also subject to the standards of care prescribed by the federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA). That law has a specific requirement that the facility prevent residents from developing bed sores and that sores b properly cared for if they do develop.
Claims against nursing homes for bed sore injuries can be remarkably complicated. Evidence of the improper care needs to be carefully assembled, and decisions have to be made about which people and which businesses should be held responsible and exactly what damages were suffered as a result of the improper care.
A Phoenix elder abuse attorney at the law firm of Knapp & Roberts has been through these cases many times before and can help you make the right decisions in the shortest amount of time. We don’t charge for consultations or for handling the case unless we succeed in settling or winning in court. Call us today and tell us what happened in your case. We provide experience, compassion, integrity, and personal attention to every client and every case.
The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.