Bedsores / Decubitus Ulcers

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, result from pressure to the skin that can happen when someone is bedbound or wheelchair bound for an extended period of time. Pressure to the skin usually occurs at locations of bony prominences, including the heels, ankles, hips, buttocks, sacrum, shoulders and the back of the head. Areas with more muscle and fat between bones and the skin are less likely to develop pressure ulcers.

Bedsores can be extremely serious and, if not properly treated, can result in infection, septic shock, disfigurement and death. Bedsores are classified in four stages depending on the depth of the tissue damage. Stage one is evidenced by persistent redness. Stage two involves thinning of the skin and may appear as a blister or abrasion. Stage three involves a full loss of skin with a crater-like appearing abscess. Finally, underlying bones and muscles are exposed in stage four.

The key to dealing with bedsores is prevention and swift reaction once a sore begins to develop. The first line of prevention is regular re-positioning. A bed bound nursing home resident must be re-positioned frequently to avoid excess pressure on any one area. Next, protective padding should be used on the heels and the legs should be positioned so the knees and ankles are not touching. Special mattresses should be used that allow for changes in pressure, such as air or water filled mattresses.

Finally, nutrition is of the utmost importance. In order to prevent skin breakdown or to allow any breakdown that has occurred to heal, a nursing home resident must be getting proper nutrition, especially protein. This can be a challenge with certain residents, including those with a poor appetite and those who are required to be on a low protein diet due to kidney disease.

When reviewing bedsore cases, one of the first things we look at is the albumin levels in the nursing home resident’s blood. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends between 50 and 65 grams of protein per day. Albumin levels provide a good indication of whether the person has been getting sufficient protein. Unfortunately, when reviewing potential nursing home cases for persons suffering from bedsores, our attorneys sometimes uncover that no such blood tests were done during the initial stages of the bedsores – meaning that the nursing home was operating blind as to whether the resident was getting enough protein to prevent the worsening of the pressure sore.

Nursing home residents are especially prone to bed sores. The United States Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 10% of nursing home residents have had a bed sore. Our lawyers have found that Jacksonville is no exception - approximately one-third of the new calls we receive regarding concerns about nursing home neglect or abuse involve bed sores. If you have concerns about the care provided at a nursing home in the greater Jacksonville area, please contact one of our lawyers for a free no obligation consultation. If we accept your case, you pay us nothing unless we make a recovery for you. We handle nursing home cases in the following Florida counties: Duval, Nassau, Clay, St. Johns, Flagler, Volusia, Union, Baker, Alachua, Columbia, and Putnam.