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Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Abuse?

nursing home patient laying in a hospital bed.

Nursing home abuse comes in many different forms. Different warning signs may lead you to believe that a loved one is being abused or neglected, but they're often difficult to identify. However, bedsores are one of the telltale signs that a nursing home or assisted living facility is failing to provide appropriate care for a resident due to neglect.

Keep in mind that bedsores are an entirely preventable condition that causes extreme pain and, if left untreated, can become infected and turn into a life-threatening illness. That's why if your loved one developed bedsores in a nursing facility, you should consult a nursing home neglect attorney who can help you demand answers and hold the negligent facility accountable.

Symptoms of bedsores

Bedsores are injuries to the skin, also called pressure ulcers. They appear red on the skin and can develop into large blisters. They can start to pop up if there is prolonged pressure on the skin. For example, bedsores can develop in nursing home residents who are left alone for too long in their beds or wheelchairs without being turned.

For residents who use wheelchairs, bedsores can develop on the shoulder blade, spine, tailbone, buttocks, or on the back of the arms and legs.

For residents who need to stay in bed, bedsores may form on the back or side of their head, shoulder blades, hips, lower back, tailbone, heels, ankles, or behind the knee.

Common symptoms of bedsore are:

  • Swelling
  • Tender areas
  • Pus-like draining from the area
  • Unusual changes in skin color or texture
  • Different temperatures in the affected area

Over time, bedsores can continue to develop and worsen if they aren't promptly treated. There are also different levels of severity to them. Bedsores will fall under one of these four categories:

  • Stage 1 - The top layer of the skin may appear red. To the touch, it may feel stiff and warm.
  • Stage 2 - The skin will start to crack, and a blister or leaking fluid may appear on the skin's surface. This is a sign of an ulcer penetrating through the skin's second layer.
  • Stage 3 - The sore has progressed into a crater. At this stage, it will turn the skin black.
  • Stage 4 - This stage of a bedsore is extreme. It could have extended into the bone, muscle, and ligaments where there is a potential for infection. In addition, if residents with stage 4 bedsores have underlying chronic conditions, the bedsores may never heal or take months to heal.

Bedsores are preventable. Nursing home staff should routinely inspect each resident's skin for bedsores daily. This way, if a bedsore is discovered, it will not further worsen and can be treated immediately. In addition, nursing homes are responsible for preventing, treating, and documenting any pressure ulcers found on residents. If a bedsore is found in any of the later stages, it is usually a sign of abuse.

Schedule a free consultation with a nursing home negligence attorney

Nursing home abuse and neglect cases are complex because nursing facilities often have teams of attorneys looking out for their best interests. At Shuttlesworth Law Firm LLC, we can help level the playing field.

Attorney Perry Shuttlesworth and his dedicated legal team have years of experience handling tough cases in Birmingham and communities throughout Alabama. We know how to investigate nursing home negligence claims, build strong cases, and fight for the justice our clients deserve.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. We've recovered over $100 million for our clients and look forward to seeing how we can help you.

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