The Dangers of Bed Sores in Nursing Home Patients

Don't let someone tell you that your loved one's bed sore is something that was to be expected or simply tolerated.  Too much information and education is available to today's nursing home staff to view bed sores as acceptable or normal.

Also known as "pressure sores" or "decubitus ulcers," bed sores often occur in nursing home patients that have remained in a continual position for long periods of time without being moved or turned by staff. These injuries are most often seen in a patient that has been laying in bed in an unchanged position for extended amounts of time, but it is also possible for a person to develop bed sores from sitting too long in their wheelchair.

How to Identify Bed Sores

Bed sores present themselves in four stages and will vary greatly depending on the severity, but they usually start as a small red spot that can be mistaken for a variety of other skin conditions. If a nurse or other medical staff doesn't move or re-position the patient, the sore can grow and intensify, possibly leading to large opening in the skin that deteriorate muscle and possibly expos the bone. 

One of the most critical concerns with bed sores, and one that can be the most deadly, is the potential for infection. Assuming that your loved one is suffering from a bed sore, it's likely that neglect is occurring, which is often associated with an unsanitary environment, heightening the risk for conditions such as sepsis or gangrene. 

What are Common Causes of Bed Sores?

There are several types of negligence that can result in bed sores, however the most likely causes include:

  • Residents with physical disabilities who lay or sit in the same position for long periods of time. (It's often suggested that an immobile person have their position changed every two hours.)
  • Nurses or other staff not checking patients for signs of bed sores.
  • Nurses or other staff not notifying doctors or family when they notice symptoms of bed sores, thus leaving a patient untreated. 
  • Not changing wet bed sheets or adult diapers, leaving the patient's skin saturated and susceptible to sores.
  • Malnutriton and/or dehydration.

Because bed sores can quickly deteriorate skin and pose deadly risks, it's important that the nursing home where your loved one resodes has competenet staff that is administering best practices with regard to bed sore prevention. ​

If you believe your loved one has received inadequate care or suffered from a bed sore as a result of negligence, please contact our New Mexico law offices for a professional evaluation of a potential nursing home abuse case. The consultation and advice are always free.