Learning that an elderly loved one in a nursing home has developed bed sores can be devastating, especially if the bed sores are severe and require hospitalization. In some cases, bed sores can result in infections that can even be fatal. Yet it can be difficult to know if bed sores, or a subsequent infection, incurred while in a nursing home are always the result of nursing home negligence. In other words, if any elderly family member did develop bed sores while residing in a nursing home and while under the care of the facility, are you always eligible to file a nursing home negligence claim? Or can bed sores sometimes happen in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities even if they have not been negligent?
Generally speaking, bed sores are a sign of passive neglect at nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, but it will be important to have an experienced New York nursing home negligence attorney assess the specific facts of your case.
How Do Bed Sores Develop?
In order to understand fault or liability for bed sores, it is necessary to understand how they develop. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bed sores develop “when blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours.” Then, “as the skin dies, the bed sore first starts as a red, painful area, which eventually turns purple.” When bed sores are left untreated, “the skin can break open and the area can become infected.” In cases in which the bed sore is not treated in a proper and timely manner, the wound can deepen and can affect a person’s muscles and bones, and the bed sore can be extremely slow to heal. In cases with some of the worst bed sores, healing can take months or years and may require surgery.
Some people are at greater risk for developing bed sores than others. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that the following are common risk factors for bed sores:
● Being bedridden;
● Being unconscious;
● Being immobile; and/or
● Having difficulty sensing pain.
Seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are often at greater risk of developing bed sores if they have diabetes, are malnourished, or have circulation problems.
Determining Liability for Bed Sores
Whether or not a nursing home is liable for a resident’s bed sores will depend upon some key factors. In nearly all cases, bed sores are avoidable with proper care, but some situations may arise in which more minor, stage 1 bed sores will not necessarily give rise to a nursing home negligence claim.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide proper care to residents based on their individual needs. If a resident has risk factors for bed sores, such as those mentioned above, then the nursing home must provide regular monitoring to prevent the resident from developing even stage 1 bed sores. If a patient who has one or more risk factors does develop a bed sore, it may be possible to sue the nursing home. Further, serious bed sores and subsequent infections that result from a lack of timely treatment can certainly result in nursing home liability.
Contact Our New York Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers
If you have questions about filing a claim arising out of bed sores, our New York nursing home negligence attorneys can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information.