If My Loved one Develops a Bedsore in a Nursing Home, Does That Mean the Nursing Home was Negligent?

Bedsores, or decubitus ulcers, are common in nursing home neglect cases; however, bedsores are not always the product of neglect. Some residents are going to have bedsore issues event if the best care is provided. To be an effective nursing home neglect lawyer, it is absolutely necessary to know the difference.

Bedsores are most common among bedbound residents as they result from pressure points (mostly bony prominences) that are in contact with a mattress or bedding material that causes irritation and breakdown of the skin. Bedsores most commonly occur on the very lower back/upper buttocks, also known as the sacrum, as well as the heels and feet. If not properly attended to, the bedsores turn into decubitus ulcers that can quickly spiral out of control, leading to severe pain, amputation, infection and death.

As Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys, we have seen bedsores the size of a salad plate and open to the bone with dead black skin surrounding the gaping wound. Sadly, we have also seen numerous deaths caused by infection from these wounds.

A nursing home must provide special bedsore preventative measures to all bedbound residents.

First, all residents’ nutrition must be closely monitored. It is necessary that a resident’s diet contain enough protein for the body to be able to maintain healthy, vibrant tissues. Protein is measured in both albumin and pre-albumin levels, which are standard when a basic metabolic profile blood test is performed. This is a test that is neither costly nor time consuming.

Second, a resident’s body position should be changed frequently taking the pressure off of bony prominences. The frequent re-positioning of a resident must be written into the resident’s chart for the nursing home to demonstrate that this protocol was followed.

Next, an “air loss mattress” should be used. An air loss mattress reduces pressure on bony prominances by changing the areas of the body in contact with the mattress due to the mattress’ change in shape and rigidity as the air slowly leaks out of the air mattress. The use of such a mattress should also be reflected in the chart.

In addition, in order to reduce pressure on the feet, nursing home residents commonly require that their feet be placed in special boots designed to prevent pressure from the mattress, sheets and blankets on the areas that are most prominent.

If a bedsore does develop, additional protocols must be put in place. First, the resident should be given a protein supplement to assist the body in creating new cells to replace the wounded skin. Further, the wound should be measured both in size and depth and cleaned and dressed frequently.

It is imperative that the nurses chart each step along the way to demonstrate that the nursing home was: aware of the bedsore; keeping track of any improvement or progression in the wound; cleaning the wound frequently; keeping the resident’s doctor informed; and changing the dressing on the wound. When reviewing a potential nursing home case, our Jacksonville nursing home abuse attorneys methodically review the entire chart to determine whether these protocols were met.

There are residents for whom bedsores are an unavoidable problem. If a nursing home takes all of the steps above and keeps the resident’s doctor informed and involved, some people will still suffer from bedsores. However, our Jacksonville nursing home neglect lawyers often find that the protocols were not charted, the doctor was not informed and the resident’s bedsore progressed to a deadly stage four at which time the resident was sent to the hospital with a life-threatening infection.

Unavoidable ulcers are a special concern for residents who suffer from kidney failure. This is because persons with kidney disease cannot tolerate a high protein diet. Sometimes, nursing homes are caught in a “catch 22” if they don’t increase the resident’s protein levels, the bedsore will not heal: but, if they increase protein, the resident’s kidneys will fail. Again, if a nursing home finds itself in this position, the competing concerns should be reflected in the chart. Otherwise, it simply appears that the nursing home failed to respond to the problem.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a bedsore while residing in a nursing home in the greater Jacksonville area, please contact us for a free consultation. If we are suspicious of neglect, at our own expense, we will obtain and review the records. If we still have concerns, we will then have the matter reviewed by an expert registered nurse. If, ultimately, we do not accept the case, you owe us nothing for the work and expense we incurred.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Mr. Lawrence for several years and in my opinion he is the most professional and trustworthy lawyer I have ever known. I have had dealings with other lawyers but they were not as good as Mr. Lawrence. I would highly recommend him. Carla
★★★★★
I was referred to Greg by a coworker after I received a bad injury from an auto accident and was so pleased with Greg, Amanda, and staff. They literally took care of everything for me while I was healing and kept me updated every step of the way. Calls and emails were always accepted and returned promptly and they were extremely patient and helpful with any questions and concerns that I had. Should I ever need legal assistance again I will definitely be calling him and referring him to family and friends. Amie M.
★★★★★
I had a difficult disability case, and was referred to Greg by a judge. As an experienced lawyer myself, I was apprehensive about using someone I didn't know. As it turned out, however, I could not have been more pleased. Greg mastered the case in no time, and was nothing short of brilliant in getting me a substantial settlement. He's a lawyer's lawyer, and I recommend him highly and without reservation. Steve
★★★★★
I would like to take a moment to say thanks to Greg, and his staff for doing an excellent job with my deceased mothers nursing home case. After hiring two other law firms my brothers and I decided to hire Greg. This was the best decision that we made regarding this case. Greg took the time to get to know who our deceased mother was, and the important facts involving our claim. As a result Greg was successful in resolving our claim to our satisfaction. Greg is the best attorney that I have ever met! I would highly recommend hiring Greg for any nursing home, or any other claims. Falsario Arnold
★★★★★
Of all the things that pleased me about Greg was that he was always available to me. If I called or emailed, I spoke to him and wasn't pushed off to one of his paralegals or assistants (although they were very helpful as well). I felt like I had a lawyer - not a factory. Scott