Indianapolis Bed Sores Lawyer
Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a common occurrence in elderly individuals who are bedridden. If dealt with properly, bed sores can be treated and prevented. However, in nursing homes, bed sores can also be a sign that a patient or resident is being abused or neglected.
If your loved one has bed sores and you suspect that they are not being cared for properly in their nursing home facility, you must act right away. While not all bed sores are a sign of neglect, if your loved one is being abused or neglected, you must act fast to get them the help that they need.
At Crossen Law Firm, our nursing home abuse and bed sore lawyers are dedicated to advocating for those suffering in nursing homes. We can help you file a claim against the appropriate party and ensure that your loved one can obtain better care and recover financial compensation for the injuries and damages they have suffered.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of bed sores due to nursing home abuse and neglect, contact a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer right away at (317) 401-8626.
What Are Bed Sores?
Bed sores are a type of wound or ulcer that forms when there is prolonged pressure on an area of the body, such as when a person is bedridden and remains in the same position for prolonged periods.
Remaining in a position where there is pressure placed on the body for long periods results in the blood supply being cut off. When this happens, the skin in that area starts to die. If left untreated, the dead skin can become incredibly painful and red and will eventually turn into an open wound.
The most common areas of the body that experience bed sores are the:
- Buttocks (butt, tailbone, and hips)
- Shoulder blades
- Heels of the feet
- Back of the head
- Backs and sides of the knees
Other common names for sores that develop in these areas due to prolonged bed rest include pressure ulcers, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, and pressure wounds. Signs that a person is developing a bed sore are painful and itchy skin and even a dulled sensation in the affected area.
What Are the Stages of Bed Sores and Pressure Ulcers?
The specific symptoms and what a bed sore looks like will depend on what stage the sore is in. Medically, bed sores are divided into four stages, which are as follows:
Stage 1: The skin is pink or red and will likely feel warm to the touch. For darker skin tones, the coloring may be more blue or purple. The skin might also feel like it burns or itches at this stage.
Stage 2: The redness is darker and the skin might start to resemble a scrape or a blister. There will likely be significant pain and the skin will look more discolored around the wound.
Stage 3: There is an obvious hole in the skin that could go as deep as the fatty layer of the epidermis. The skin around the area will look very irritated and will be extremely painful.
Stage 4: The wound has penetrated much deeper into the skin and muscles, tendons, and even bones may be exposed. At this stage, there is a high risk of infection.
What Complications Can Arise from Bed Sores?
If caught early, bed sores can easily be treated and heal within a few days. However, if the sores are left to reach stages three and four, they can take months and even years to heal. Bed sores left for too long can also become infected, which can be life-threatening to some elderly individuals who already suffer from other health issues and are more frail.
In some cases, a person who develops severe bed sores may end up with sepsis and could require amputation to save their life. Some people can also develop sinus tracts from bed sores, which are passages connecting the sore to other structures of the body. If this happens, they could develop bacterial meningitis or endocarditis. Their bones could become infected and they could develop necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease).
What are the Causes of Bed Sores?
Again, bed sores result from prolonged pressure on the skin, which often occurs when someone is bedridden and remains in the same position for too long. Certain individuals are more likely to develop bed sores due to other health conditions, which include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Spina bifida
- Peripheral artery disease
With regard to residents in nursing homes, however, one of the most common causes of bed sores is negligence. The CDC reports that an estimated 159,000 residents suffer from nursing home bed sores, and while this can happen for any number of reasons, it is often the result of negligent staff.
The specifics of negligence and why it occurs in nursing homes can vary. In many cases, it is due to understaffed facilities and a lack of training. However, it can also happen when staff willfully choose to abuse and neglect nursing home residents.
Those in nursing homes are often weak and defenseless, which makes them more vulnerable to staff members taking advantage of and abusing their positions of power. Some staff also neglect residents because they are overworked and underpaid, which results in poor work performance. Some staff might even take their frustrations with management out on patients.
No matter how or why the neglect or abuse happens, however, it is a form of negligence and should not be happening. So if you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or if you notice signs of bed sores, you should report the issue as soon as possible. It is also wise to get in touch with a nursing home abuse or pressure ulcer attorney who can advocate for your rights and those of your loved one to ensure the case is dealt with properly.
Questions to Ask the Nursing Home if Your Loved One Is Developing Bed Sores
If you notice that your loved one is developing bed sores, one of the first things you should do is report the issue to the nursing home director. It’s also important to have a list of questions prepared so you can advocate for your loved one’s recovery.
Some of the questions you can ask include:
- Is the staff aware of the wound and what are they doing to remedy the situation?
- How severe is the ulcer? or What stage is the bed sore in?
- How many hours were they (your loved one) left in bed without being repositioned?
- Did this occur because there are too many residents and not enough staff to care for them?
- Has a treatment plan already been noted to ensure the bed sores heal?
- Could the sore have been prevented, and if so, what is being done to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
If the nursing home director or whomever you speak with is unable to answer your questions or if they seem to be avoiding answering your questions, then you should report the issue to the local authorities and contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. Even if the nursing home is compliant it still might be a good idea to reach out to a lawyer who can help investigate the matter in case the bed sores are the result of abuse or neglect.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Bed Sores?
Yes, you can file a bed sore lawsuit. Nursing home residents have legal rights, which include being treated with respect and care to promote quality of life. Thus, nursing homes have a duty to provide a certain standard of care. If they do not, they can be held liable for their negligence.
To pursue legal action against a nursing home for bed sores, you will need to prove that the nursing home and its staff acted negligently and that the negligence was the direct cause of the bed sores. Specifically, you must prove the following:
- That the nursing home had a legal obligation to care for your loved one.
- That the nursing home violated its duty of care by acting negligently.
- That the nursing home’s negligence was the direct cause of the bed sores.
- That your loved one suffered damages as a result of the negligence.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
While bed sores are a common occurrence in nursing homes, this does not mean it is okay for these issues to be happening. In many cases, bed sores are a sign that a resident is being abused or neglected in some way by the nursing home staff. As such, you must work with an attorney to ensure your loved one’s rights are protected and that they get the care and financial compensation they need and deserve for their suffering.
A nursing home abuse and bed sores lawyer does more than simply represent victims in court. There are many services that a lawyer can provide including:
- Helping to investigate the situation to determine the cause of the bed sores, such as a negligent staff member or management.
- Advocating for your rights and those of your loved ones
- Filing a civil claim for the damages your loved one has suffered.
- Helping you file a wrongful death lawsuit if the bed sores lead to the death of your loved one.
Crossen Law Firm: Indianapolis Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Lawyers
Discussing your case with an experienced Indiana nursing home abuse and bed sores lawyer can help you during this trying time. At Crossen Law Firm, our team will fight tirelessly on your behalf and the behalf of your loved one to help you get what you are owed. You will not owe us anything unless we win your case.
Make the right call. Call Crossen Law Firm at (317) 401-8626 or contact our firm online.