Watch as New York Attorney Justin Varughese explains the various causes of bedsores in nursing homes and ways bedsores can be prevented.
Hi, my name is Justin Varughese and I’m a partner at Leitner Varughese and I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about bedsores at nursing homes – what causes them and how they can be prevented.
A bedsore, also known as pressure ulcers, is a skin ulcer that comes from lying in one position for an extended period of time so that the circulation in the skin is compromised by the pressure.
Think of it this way. When you press your fingers together, you’ll notice the location where you apply pressure turns white – that’s because the pressure prevents blood and oxygen from reaching that area. When you release the pressure, the color returns as blood rushes back to that location.
Even as you sit and watch this video, without even realizing it, we all shift our weight to relieve pressure off of any one area.
The issue for an elderly person who may not have the strength or ability to move themselves is that, without assistance, they are often left in any one position for an extended period of time, which compromises the blood flow to certain areas of the body. And with no blood or oxygen flowing to a given area, the skin cannot survive and begins to break down.
Areas of the body called “bony prominences”, where there is little or no muscle or fat between the skin and the bone, are particularly susceptible to this breakdown. An example would be the lower back or sacrum.
A bedsore usually begins as redness to the affected area, which would be called a Stage I Pressure Ulcer.
From there, the blood and oxygen-deprived skin, tissue, and muscle deteriorate to the point of a deep hole in one’s flesh where bone and muscle are exposed. This would be considered a Stage IV ulcer. With all those exposed nerve endings, you can imagine how painful an opening like that can be.
So how can this terrible injury be avoided? As we learned a moment ago, pressure compromises the flow of blood to a given area of the body, so the most basic and important way to prevent a bedsore is to relieve that pressure on a regular basis.
The law dictates that a nursing home has a duty to prevent bedsores, and one of the most basic ways they can do so is by turning and repositioning residents on a regular basis, typically every two hours. Sadly, many nursing homes are understaffed, or employ workers who are undertrained, and as a result, this most basic preventative measure is not carried out.
The result? Far too many nursing home residents develop large, painful, and wholly avoidable bedsores due to the nursing home’s neglect. Our firm is devoted to putting an end to the neglect and abuse of nursing home residents.
If you or a loved one has developed any type of bedsore or skin breakdown at a nursing home, I’d invite you to call us at 212-671-1110 or visit our website at www.lvlawny.com for a free consultation.
We would like to answer your questions and walk alongside you and your family to get justice for those who have been neglected and see this horrible cycle come to an end. I hope this video has been informative and helpful. Thank you.