Pressure ulcers are often linked as an indication of neglect for nursing home or personal care home residents. Pressure ulcers can develop when necessary care, such as repositioning residents with mobility deficits, is not provided. Unfortunately, pressure ulcers can be difficult to heal, increase resident’s infection risk, be a source of pain or discomfort, and sometimes lead to death.
Definition of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are defined as wounds on the skin and underlying tissue resulting from a sustained period of pressure. Pressure ulcers frequently occur on skin areas that cover bony prominences, such as the sacrum, ankles, heels, and spine. There are four stages of pressure ulcers, which delineate the ulcer’s severity. Stage I pressure ulcers denote intact skin with signs of pressure. A sign of pressure for stage I ulcers include reddened skin that doesn’t turn white when touched. In the next stage, the skin (dermis) opens or develops a blister; this is called a Stage II ulcer. Stage III pressure ulcers are even more serious, denoting full thickness loss of both the skin and subcutaneous tissue below it. Finally, Stage IV ulcer is when a pressure ulcer becomes so deep that it expands into the muscles, tendons or bone.
Prevention of Pressure Ulcers in Nursing Home Residents
Pressure ulcers can be extremely difficult to heal. That’s why it’s crucial that the health care professionals responsible for the care of at-risk residents take all recommended precautions to prevent pressure ulcers. Conducting a complete risk assessment for skin breakdown is a critical first step in prevention. Many nursing homes use a standardized assessment called the Braden Scale to ascertain a patient’s risk of skin breakdown. If a resident is identified from the Braden Scale as an at-risk resident, urgent action must be taken to minimize the risk of breakdown. Personalized interventions may include pressure reducing support surfaces, such as a specialized mattresses or wheelchair cushions.
Turning and repositioning schedules must be implemented and tailored based on the resident needs. Facilities that cite a standard 2 hour repositioning schedule should be questioned on how this schedule is monitored and documented. All too often, nursing facilities fail to maintain consistency with this repositioning schedule. Additionally, some residents who have a high risk for skin breakdown might require repositioning more frequently in order prevent pressure injury.
Unfortunately, time and time again, nursing homes fail to implement these important skin saving measures due to cost, lack of staffing, or a knowledge deficit.
Pressure Ulcers Complications
Pressure ulcers are a huge risk to a resident’s health. Wounds that become infected can prolong the length of time for wound healing and require the use of medications such as antibiotics. Untreated infections can result in a bone infection known as osteomyelitis, or lead to sepsis, a life threatening multi-organ response to an infection. Additionally, pressure ulcers frequently cause significant pain and suffering for residents.
When to Call an Attorney
The Wieand Law Firm aggressively fights for just compensation for resident’s whose health has be harmed by a pressure ulcer. Nursing homes have professional legal teams that have the sole goal to minimize awards of pressure ulcer sufferers. That’s why you need the support of a trusted nursing home attorney to seek fair compensation for injuries caused by preventable pressure ulcers. The Wieand Law Firm will take the time to listen to your situation and provide that skilled advice you need to take action.
To speak with a nursing home attorney at the Wieand Law Firm call us today at 215-666-7777 to receive a free, no obligation consultation.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.