Pressure Ulcers in Assisted Living Facilities

Knoxville Attorney Representing Injured Elderly Residents of East Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Health, Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities licenses assisted living facilities to provide services to elderly residents who need help with personal care. Generally, assisted living facilities give more care than residential homes for the elderly do. They provide medical services and other services in addition to room and board. If you develop a pressure ulcer in an assisted living facility in East Tennessee because of inadequate supervision or another type of negligence, you may be able to recover damages. Skillful Knoxville nursing home negligence lawyer Mark Hartsoe at the Hartsoe Law Firm is ready to represent you.

Pressure Ulcers in Assisted Living Facilities

In Tennessee, assisted living facilities can provide medical services, and they must also provide personal services. Among the personal services offered is the ability to intervene when there is a crisis, such as a pressure ulcer developing. The medical services that can be offered in an assisted living facility include medical supplies and equipment, medication administration, intermittent nursing care, and other therapy. The medical services should be performed by a health care professional who is licensed to provide them.

An assisted living facility is supposed to perform an intake assessment on new residents to make sure that the facility can meet a resident's needs and preferences. Tennessee assisted living facilities are not allowed to admit or keep people whose needs cannot be safely met by the facility. This includes people who require treatment of Stage III or IV pressure ulcers and people who have active and infectious diseases that require isolation. Stage III or IV ulcers are severe ulcers. Generally, a Stage III ulcer has a deep crater, and it is possible to observe tissue underneath the skin. A Stage IV ulcer has a huge loss of skin tissue, and it is possible to observe muscles, bones, or tendons, as well as crust or debris in that location.

At the assisted living facility, direct care staff must be numerous enough to meet the residents' needs, including their medical needs. Licensed nurses should be available when needed. The administrator of the facility must have a high school diploma and cannot have been convicted of a crime of abuse or neglect against an elderly person.

Once someone is a resident, if there is an injury or illness such as a Stage I or Stage II pressure ulcer that requires nursing care for up to three 21-day periods, the facility can allow the resident to stay. In some cases, patients can administer their own medications, but in other cases, it may be necessary for medication to be administered by a licensed professional.

If you develop pressure ulcers in an assisted living facility as a result of the facility's negligence, you may be able to recover damages. Sometimes pressure ulcers develop as a result of someone receiving inadequate help with repositioning, and they can worsen when staff members do not address or treat them adequately. Understaffing can result in less attention to a resident's pressure ulcers than is needed.

In a Tennessee Supreme Court case (Wilson v. Americare Systems, Inc., 2013), for example, the Court found liability when an assisted living facility's management company had not adequately staffed the facility, such that a resident died. The assisted living facility had not followed a physician's order in connection with medication, and as a result, her condition worsened, and eventually she died. There were two licensed nurses working at the facility, but many staff members asked for additional staffing to be able to provide the residents with adequate care, but they were not provided with the additional staffing. The plaintiff sued the nurses, the director of nursing, the facility owner, the facility operator, and the facility manager, and they were awarded both compensatory and punitive damages. The state Supreme Court found that there was sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that inadequate staffing led to the facility's deviation from the applicable standard of care and that staffing inadequacies can be a basis for a successful lawsuit against an assisted living facility.

If you suspect that inadequate staffing or inadequate nursing or other care led to pressure ulcers at an assisted living facility, you should retain an attorney with experience in this area of law. Often, it is necessary to consult and retain a medical expert to pursue this type of claim.

Explore Your Options with a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney in Knoxville

If you are concerned about harm arising from pressure ulcers in an assisted living facility, you should consult an experienced nursing home negligence attorney. Contact the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville by calling (865) 524-5657 or completing our online form. We represent 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.

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