Preventing Pressure Sore Injuries

Transcript: The other day a caller said “I hired a nursing home to take care of my Dad who has dementia, but they let him develop pressure sores, and the doctor said it also looks like he might have been abused, what are my legal options?”

Hi, I’m David Holub, a personal injury attorney practicing law in northwest Indiana.

Unfortunately, we frequently hear about nursing home failures like these. Whether it is abuse, or bedsores, these situations are appalling. When we entrust a nursing facility with our loved ones, we expect them to provide appropriate care.

Sadly, the pressure to cut costs, the lack of solid employee training, along with a high employee turnover rate, all lead to substandard patient care.

Let’s take a look at this condition which some people call a bedsore. Bedsores are preventable. Proper risk assessment is essential.

Also, employees need to be trained in the practical techniques needed to prevent skin injuries to long term care individuals. A health care facility, whether it be a hospital or nursing home or other long-term care facility, should be giving a patient a pressure sore risk assessment within 8 hours of admission. These assessments often are scored by what is known as a Braden Score, which looks at several criteria, including a patient’s mobility.

The lower the score, the more at risk the patient is for developing pressure sores. Facilities should be reassessing a patient at regular and frequent intervals after admission, and whenever there is a significant change in the condition of the patient. So, when we look at records to see if a facility has breached the standard of care, one of the things we look at is whether proper assessments were done. Then if pressure sores were noted as a risk, we look to see if steps were taken to eliminate them or prevent them.

The primary way to avoid pressure sores is to move a patent frequently. Moving the patient means the patient’s skin is not made to suffer sustained pressure for a long of a time. At risk patients must be physically moved on a regular basis, or placed on special mattresses designed to prevent pressure wounds.

I hope you found this information helpful. Call us at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by searching our website or our YouTube site, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast: Personal Injury Primer.

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