West Palm Beach Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
In an elderly person, bedsores are, most often, proof positive that medical neglect is taking place. Also known as pressure sores, these develop when someone has been putting too much pressure on one specific area of soft tissue for too long. In a responsible nursing home, staff will help patients turn every two hours so as to avoid the appearance of sores – indeed, both Florida and federal law require nursing homes to provide a standard of care that ensures residents’ safety and well-being. Bed sores are only one visible part of what may be a widespread pattern of abuse and elder neglect.
Symptoms of Bedsores
The symptoms of bedsores are fairly hard to miss, especially at later stages. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) has created a four-stage profile with which to categorize any given case, and the stages are distinct.
- Stage I is marked by a reddened area on the skin, with an elevated temperature and slightly spongy feel to the skin.
- Stage II shows an actual loss of skin (at least the top two layers). It resembles a scrape or abrasion at this point.
- Stage III sores look like craters. There has been significant damage to the tissue underneath the sore, not just the skin.
- Stage IV sores can affect even muscles and bones – the damage has gone deep enough to affect every layer of skin and tissue in the affected area.
The most common sites for bedsores are places on the body where bone or another hard surface exists with very little muscle tissue on top. Hip bones, knees and shoulder blades are some of the areas most affected. However, friction on areas commonly associated with movement can also develop sores – examples would be the buttocks or heels of the feet.
Be advised that in rare cases, bed sores can develop even with proper care; a patient with unusually sensitive skin would be prone to them, for example. However, this is extremely unusual – more often than not, bed sores indicate significant problems in elder care.
Risk Factors and Complications
One might wonder why bedsores are specifically a matter of concern. The answer is that many more serious conditions have been linked to them (as well as to the neglect that may cause them). The Mayo Clinic has linked diseases like sepsis (a virulent bacterial infection), cellulitis (which can eventually turn into meningitis, which can be fatal), and an “aggressive form of cancer” that targets specific types of skin cells to untreated bedsores.
There are a multitude of risk factors that can cause bedsores, and most of them occur exclusively in the elderly. Some of the most common include:
- Possessing limited to no mobility;
- Being underweight;
- Having dry or rough skin;
- Excessive sweating;
- Vascular disease; and
- Any combination of the previous factors – for example, limited mobility in a person who sweats a lot will breed bedsores unless the staff at their nursing home is there to assist them in moving around.
A Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Can Make A Difference
If you have a loved one who has developed bedsores in a nursing home, you may suspect neglect but have no idea how to proceed. Gary Roberts & Associates can help, by providing information and help in what can be a very difficult time for a family. Our elder abuse attorneys have years of experience in similar matters, and we are happy to work for your loved one’s well-being. We offer appointments at flexible hours, and can accommodate those who prefer to speak Spanish. Contact our West Palm Beach personal injury offices for a free initial consultation today.