Decubitus ulcers, also known as “pressure ulcers” or “bedsores” are a common result of inattentive and negligent nursing home care. According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 10 percent of nursing home residents suffer from decubitus ulcers every year.
While some nursing homes will try to argue that there is nothing they can do to prevent decubitus ulcers among their elderly and bedridden residents, the reality is that these injuries are easily preventable. No one should have to suffer through the agonizing pain and discomfort that can accompany untreated bedsores. If you or a loved one is suffering and you believe that a negligent nursing home may be to blame, let the attorneys at Bottaro Law Firm help you fight for just compensation.
Risk Factors for Decubitus Ulcers
Elderly individuals often exhibit many of the risk factors for decubitus ulcers. When combined with the prevalence of negligence and abuse in nursing homes, nursing home residents are among the individuals who are most at risk for suffering these injuries.
Many of the risk factors for decubitus ulcers can be brought on by inadequate care. These include:
- Weight loss due to malnutrition or dehydration
- Excess moisture or dryness
- Diabetes and other medical conditions that affect blood flow
- Lack of sensory perception due to injuries, such as those resulting from slips and falls
Knowing When You Have a Decubitus Ulcer
Decubitus ulcers “can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat.” This is according to the Mayo Clinic. As a result, elderly nursing home residents – and particularly those who are not able to care for themselves – are at serious risk for suffering serious, life-changing injuries when they receive negligent care.
Where to Decubitus Ulcers Develop?
Decubitus ulcers are caused by prolonged pressure to the skin. This is a common result of being confined a wheelchair or bed – which is why decubitus ulcers are also known as bedsores. These painful injuries typically occur in bony areas of the body, including:
- Back of the head
- Shoulders and shoulder blades
When you suffer a decubitus ulcer, the pressure prevents blood supply to the affected area, and this can quickly lead to painful injuries.
What are Some of the Symptoms of Decubitus Ulcers?
Decubitus ulcers are classified into four different stages, depending on the level of severity. At Stage I, typical symptoms include:
- Red or discolored skin that does not lighten when touched
- Tenderness in the affected area
- Unusual firmness or softness of the skin
- The affected area feeling warm or cool when compared to the surrounding skin
If you can seek treatment for a decubitus ulcer at Stage I, it may be possible to make a full recovery with months or weeks of attentive care. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents are reliant upon the individuals who allow them to suffer these injuries in the first place. In these scenarios, bedsores can become dangerous, and in some cases life-threatening injuries. Some of the symptoms of advanced-stage decubitus ulcers include:
- Damaged skin or loss of skin
- Pinkish, red, and crater-like wounds
- Exposed body fat
- Exposed muscle, tendons, or bone
- Yellowish or dark wounds, indicating dead tissue
- Damage extending beyond the wound site under layers of healthy skin
The Hidden Dangers of Decubitus Ulcers
Part of the reason that decubitus ulcers are so dangerous is that they can be catalysts for other serious injuries and complications. Nursing home residents who suffer from bedsores may also be at risk for:
- Injuries and complications from surgical errors
- Prescription medication errors
- Squamous cell carcinoma (a dangerous form of cancer that forms in chronic wounds)
Sadly, these conditions can make elderly individuals even more reliant on their nursing homes. As a result, victims of decubitus ulcers often find themselves in a cycle of mistreatment and serious illnesses and injuries. At Bottaro Law Firm, not only can we help you obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by nursing home negligence, but we can also help you find a new, safer nursing home as well.
Speak with a Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse Lawyer at Bottaro Law Firm
No one deserves to endure the pain and suffering that come with decubitus ulcers. If you need help holding a nursing home accountable and extricating yourself from a dangerous situation, the experienced legal team at Bottaro Law Firm is here to help. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us online or call us 24/7 at (866) 529-9700.