Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers, and they are created when too much pressure is placed on a specific area of skin. They occur often in nursing home residents who are bedridden or spend a substantial amount of time in bed or in a chair. In addition to causing pain and discomfort, a bedsore can lead to an infection, such as cellulitis, meningitis, or endocarditis. The most common areas on the body for bedsores are the hips, elbows, tailbone, and shoulder blades because there is less muscle and fat to protect those areas from long-term pressure. If you or a loved one developed a bedsore in an East Tennessee nursing home, you may wonder if something could have been done to prevent it. Knoxville nursing home negligence attorney Mark Hartsoe can help you determine if the staff should be held accountable for failing to prevent a bedsore and potentially take legal action on your behalf.Prevention of Bedsores
If a body does not move a lot, there may not be adequate blood flow to the tissues and skin. This means that the skin will not receive much-needed oxygen and nutrients, especially when there is pressure on a specific location, such as over a bone. For that reason, nursing home staff are supposed to change the position of a person with restricted movement, such as someone who is infirm or bedridden frequently, every two hours or so in general. This reduces the chance that certain spots of skin pressing against the bed will develop a bedsore or pressure ulcer .
Nursing home staff should also keep a resident's skin clean and dry. When skin is clean and dry, it is less likely that it will develop a sore or get infected. Generally, nursing home residents should be given sponge baths or taken regularly to get washed. A nursing home resident may need help with these processes so that harder-to-reach spots on the resident's body can be reached. It is important that the skin not be rubbed too hard when drying because that can result in skin irritation.
Sometimes, nursing home residents who are bedridden or incapacitated need pillows placed between parts of their body that press against each other, as well as other surfaces. It may be appropriate for a staff member to put a pillow under the tailbone, shoulders, elbows, or heels. When a resident is lying on their side for a prolonged period, staff members should put a pillow between their knees and ankles.
Nursing home residents who spend a lot of time in bed can still get some exercise. Moving at all can help reduce the chance of developing leg sores. This could include leg lifts or arm lifts, and staff members should help residents do these exercises as appropriate.
Nursing home staff members are instrumental in supervising residents and preventing bedsores. Their diligence and competence are also critical to getting treatment for a level I pressure ulcer, rather than trying to address a level IV ulcer on an emergency basis. Nursing home administrators bear ultimate responsibility for making sure that staff members understand how to prevent bedsores and how to spot them so that appropriate care can be given.
Tennessee and federal laws prohibit abuse or neglect of elderly or disabled nursing home residents. When a resident is injured or has died due to a nursing home's negligent failure to prevent bedsores or treat them, an attorney can help recover damages arising from the injury or wrongful death. Sometimes a failure to prevent bedsores is a result of a single staff member's neglect, but in some cases, it is a result of improper administration or training.
Certain family members or a deceased resident's estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Tennessee. The damages that may be recovered include mental anguish, physical and mental suffering of family members, loss of time and expenses, and loss of love, society, and companionship. When a bedsore is not prevented, and medical care is necessary, it may be possible to hold the nursing home responsible for the costs of medical care and therapies that may become necessary.Seek Guidance from a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney in the Knoxville Area
If you are concerned about prevention of bedsores in a nursing home, you should consult a skillful lawyer who can protect your rights and interests. Contact the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville by calling (865) 524-5657 or using our online form. We aggressively advocate for injured people in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.