Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes

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Every year, thousands of older people become victims of elder abuse at nursing homes across the United States. Bedsores are one of the most serious symptoms of neglect by staff. If left untreated bed sores at Virginia nursing homes can be deadly.

Virginia has a worrying record of nursing home abuse.  Since 2014, inspectors in the Commonwealth have penalized one in four nursing homes for neglect and other violations of state and federal regulations. We are aware of how nursing home neglect in Virginia comes in many forms. Neglect ranges from physical abuse to failure to provide adequate medical attention and financial exploitation of elders.

If your elderly relative has been neglected or abused at a nursing home or residential care home in Hampton, Newport News, York County, or elsewhere in Virginia, please contact the Smith Law Center today for help.

How Serious Are Bed Sores at Virginia Nursing Homes?

Bedsores are painful, debilitating and potentially deadly. They point to high levels of neglect by nursing staff. They are also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers.

Bedsores are produced by prolonged pressure on the skin of a resident. They typically occur when older people have limited mobility.

The ulcers are tissue damage beneath the upper-epidermal layers of the patient’s skin. Bedsores are most likely to occur on the skin that covers the bony areas of the body. The heels, ankles, hips and tailbone or the backs of legs, and arms are more susceptible. Nursing home residents may develop them lying in bed or from sitting in chairs for long periods.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores are more likely to occur when a bedridden or immobile person is not turned regularly, positioned correctly, and is deprived of nutrition and skin care. People with circulation problems, poor nutrition and diabetes are at the highest risk of developing bedsores.

Are Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes Linked to Neglect?

Bedsores at Virginia nursing homes are typically linked to neglect. Nurses and care workers at homes for older people are not always aware residents are developing bedsores. It can be challenging to care for an older resident. However, staff has a duty to turn over residents and move them around as well as to clean them regularly. Often nursing homes face challenges hiring staff and workers are under pressure. Some Virginia nursing home workers may be inexperienced and not notice the signs of bedsores. In other cases, nursing homes avoid contacting medical professionals for fear of lawsuits.

The Stages of Bedsores

There are four stages in the development of bedsores. If your elderly resident is in a Virginia nursing home, you should look out for these signs, particularly if your family member is immobile.

Stage 1. Part of the body becomes red, inflamed, and tender to touch. In people with darker skin, the area may gain a blue or purple hue. A sensation of pain, burning and itching can indicate the early stages of a bedsore.

Stage 2. The area around the ulcer becomes obviously damaged. An open sore, blister, or scrape may develop and the area around it often becomes discolored. By stage 2, bedsores can become very painful.

Stage 3. By the third phase of development, bedsores become very obvious. Johns Hopkins states the sores have a “crater-like appearance due to damage below the skin’s surface.”

Stage 4. By the fourth stage, bedsores can become life-threatening. The area around the sores sustains severe damage and large, gaping wounds are present. In some cases, bones, tendons and joints are visible. There is a serious risk of life-threatening infections in advanced stage bedsores.

How Can Bedsores be Prevented?

Managers of efficient nursing homes are well aware of the dangers of bedsores and have strict routines to prevent them from occurring. However, residents face an elevated risk in badly run homes.

Staff should routinely inspect the skin of patients for signs of redness. They should pay particular attention to the bony areas of immobile residents. It’s important to diagnose and treat bedsores during the earliest phase.  Nursing home staff should also:

  • Turn and reposition immobile residents every two hours
  • Provide good skin care by washing residents and keeping them clean
  • Make sure residents have dry skin
  • Ensure wheelchair-bound residents sit up straight and are repositioned every 15 minutes
  • Add soft padding to beds and wheelchairs to safeguard against the development of bedsores

Good nutrition is essential to help prevent the development of bedsores. Patients must receive adequate vitamins, calories, fluids and protein. Healing is difficult without these basics.

Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer over Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes

Few situations are more upsetting than knowing a nursing home or a residential home is mistreating your elderly family member. On occasions, family members are wary about challenging nursing home management until it is too late. Sadly, we read all the time about veterans and others who have proudly served their countries only to be neglected and abused in nursing homes. At the Smith Law Center, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the injured. Please contact us today for a consultation.

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