Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, can occur in almost any setting where a person is immobile, but they occur with some frequency in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores occur most often “when a person is bedridden or otherwise immobile, unconscious, or unable to sense pain.” When elderly nursing home patients with limited mobility do not receive property care, they can develop serious and life-threatening bedsores. In many instances, it may be possible to sue a nursing home after a resident develops severe bedsores.
You should always discuss the specific facts of your case with a nursing home neglect attorney. In the meantime, however, we want to tell you five things you should know about bedsore claims in nursing homes.
Bedsores Can Range Widely in Severity
Bedsores can range very widely in terms of severity. Some bedsores are minor and can be effectively treated topically and without treatment from a healthcare provider. Others require immediate medical intervention. According to WebMD, pressure ulcers are classified from Stage 1 to Stage 4, with Stage 1 bedsores being the mildest and Stage 4 being the most severe. Both Stage 3 and Stage 4 pressure ulcers are extremely serious and usually require antibiotics. Patients also may need special bed equipment, and these bedsores can take many months to heal. Stage 4 bedsores can affect a person’s muscles and ligaments, they may require surgery, and it can take years for these pressure ulcers to heal.
Pressure Ulcers Can Occur on Many Different Parts of the Body
Bedsores or pressure ulcers can occur on many different parts of the body. Johns Hopkins Medicine cites the following as common places where these ulcers can occur: tailbone area, hips, heels of the feet, shoulder blades, back of the head, and back or side of knees.
Bedsores are a Common Sign of Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing home neglect is a passive form of nursing home abuse. It does not mean a facility or a staff member actively set out to harm a patient, but the failure to provide adequate care resulted in an injury. Bedsores often occur when nursing homes are understaffed and patients do not receive proper care.
When an Elderly Patient Suffers from Bedsores, the Nursing Home May be Liable for Negligence
Nursing homes have a duty to provide a certain level of care to nursing home patients, which includes taking steps to ensure that patients do not develop bedsores. If a patient does develop a bedsore, nursing homes are required to take steps to help the patient seek treatment and to heal. As such, when serious bedsores occur—which typically mean the victim was left without proper care and attention—the nursing home may be liable.
Most Patients Have Three Years to File a Nursing Home Negligence Claim for Bedsores
Under New York law, nursing home negligence claims for bedsores usually must be filed within three years from the date of the nursing facility’s negligence. If a claim is not filed within three years from that date, the claim could become time-barred under New York law.
Contact a New York Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
Bedsores are a frequent sign of nursing home negligence, and they can be extremely serious. In some cases, when a nursing home patient suffers from severe bedsores, she or he may develop an infection that ultimately leads to death, not to mention the excruciating pain and suffering caused by such serious pressure ulcers. If you have an elderly loved one who developed pressure ulcers in a New York nursing home, you should speak with a New York nursing home negligence attorney to learn more about your options. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information and to get started on your claim.