Nursing Home Bedsore Lawyer in Denver, Colorado

Older or immobilized patients require intensive care and attention due to the prolonged pressure on their bodies while confined to a bed. When a negligent nursing home doesn’t monitor their residents’ skin conditions, appalling bedsores can develop.

Nursing Home Justice, led by attorney Mac Hester, is dedicated to helping families recover from bedsore injuries.

Through careful and compassionate advocacy, we’ll connect with each client and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions or failure to act.

Contact a bedsore lawyer at (303) 775-8128 to get started on your claim.

What is a Bedsore?

Bedsores, commonly known as pressure ulcers, are one of many nursing home injuries. These ulcers develop on areas of a patient’s skin that have been in continual contact with a hard surface, most likely their bed or wheelchair.

Pressure ulcers could appear as harmless, reddened areas of the skin or severe, crater-like wounds.

Think about a bedsore as a blister on your foot after a long hike. It starts as an irritated hot spot that progressively worsens as you rub that area against your shoe. Failing to change your sock and air out your foot could result in a painful blister and infection.

Where Do Bedsores Occur?

Common spots for bedsores include bony areas with little fat, such as:

  • Tailbone and buttocks
  • Back and sides of the head
  • Heels and ankles
  • Backs of arms and legs
  • Shoulder blades and spine

Who’s At Risk for Bedsores?

Certain patients are at a higher risk for bedsores, depending on their medical condition. Patients with poor blood circulation or those with diabetes are more prone to bedsores.

Older patients suffering from mobility issues can’t readjust themselves in a bed or wheelchair. Without the ability to alleviate pressured areas of the body, bedsores develop over time.

Some patients might even have nerve damage that prevents them from knowing a bedsore is developing. Nursing home staff must know each patient’s condition and pay close attention to at-risk individuals.

What Causes Bedsores?

When certain parts of the body are under pressure for long periods, it prevents blood flow and oxygen from reaching that area. Poorly padded bedding or wheelchairs are common causes of bedsores.

An increase in friction between the skin and clothing, bedding, or wheelchairs can worsen pressure ulcers.

There might be instances where the skin moves in the opposite direction of the body and stretches, irritating the skin. This is referred to as shear.

Shear could result from a poorly elevated bed that causes the patient to slide down and pressure the tailbone.

Other Causes of Bedsores

  • Malnourished patients who aren’t receiving the vitamins and nutrients they need
  • Inadequate stretching to prevent contractures (a condition where joints are in a fixed position)
  • Improper cleaning of patients suffering from uncontrolled bladder or bowels
  • Inadequate moisturization

How Dangerous Are Untreated Bedsores?

Untreated bedsores result in severe harm or even life-threatening consequences. When pressure ulcers develop into large open wounds, the threat of infection dramatically increases.

Infection often leads to the worsening of the resident’s pre-existing conditions. If the infection is not controlled, it may develop into sepsis.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition in which the immune system attacks its own body, causing tissue damage and organ failure. If not immediately treated, sepsis is fatal.

Patients with nerve damage who are unaware of their bedsores are even more at risk for infection if their caregivers continually neglect them.

The Stages of Bedsores

There is a four-stage system for evaluating bedsores. Stage one is the least serious, and stage four is the most severe.

Each stage is described by the bedsore’s appearance and the pain felt by the patient.

  • Stage One – The irritated area is red and warm to the touch. For darker complected patients, the skin may appear purple or blue. Burning or itching is expected at this stage.
  • Stage Two – The bedsore is now an open wound or blister at this stage. You or your loved one might experience more intense pain.
  • Stage Three – Stage three describes a pressure ulcer as a crater where underlying skin is severely damaged.
  • Stage Four – Stage four bedsores pose a severe risk of infection. Bones might be affected at this stage, and the wound will appear very large.
  • Unassigned Stage or “Unstageable” – In extreme cases, bedsores may be so severe that it is not assigned a stage. This is often when slough appears. Slough is cream or yellow-colored necrotic (dead) tissue covering the wound. This tissue must be removed for the wound to heal.

Are Bedsores Permanent?

Bedsores can be treated with the following methods:

  • Relieving pressure immediately
  • Disinfecting the wound
  • Debriding the wound (removing dead tissue)
  • Prescribing antibiotics to cure the infection
  • Grafting healthy skin onto the wound
  • Ensuring the patient is well nourished
  • Dressing the wound appropriately to protect it

Although most pressure ulcers are treatable, some take months or years to heal properly.

How Are Bedsores Prevented?

Bedsores are a sign of extreme negligence. If patients were adequately turned and checked on regularly, there is no reason for a bedsore to develop.

A competent caregiver understands the necessary steps to prevent a bedsore, including:

  • Ensuring residents receive daily cleaning and proper moisturization.
  • Placing cushioning on hard surfaces.
  • Repositioning bedridden patients every few hours and those in wheelchairs every 15 minutes.
  • Providing patients with enough fluids and adequate nutrition.

Who’s Liable for Bedsore Injuries?

Nursing homes often claim that bedsores are unavoidable. However, that is rarely true. Almost all pressure ulcers are avoidable with proper monitoring and care.

A quality nursing home with a well-trained staff should never allow bedsores to develop. When nursing homes and their staff fail to uphold their duty of care, they will be found negligent.

Understaffed Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are responsible for the care and recovery of many patients. Often, facilities will try to cut corners.

This leaves employees overworked and unable to give each resident the necessary attention.

Immobilized patients in need of daily care could be left unattended for hours or days, increasing the risk of bedsores.

Although it may seem that the individual nurse is at fault, the root problem could be the nursing home itself. In that case, the nursing home is responsible for your damages.

Inexperienced Staff

Nursing home staff should be thoroughly trained to handle the various situations they’ll encounter. Nursing aides may not be appropriately trained to timely reposition residents and treat moisture-associated skin damage.

When nursing home staff are inexperienced or simply negligent in their daily obligation to their patients, they could be held liable for the suffering a resident experienced.

Can You Recover Compensation for Bedsores?

A nursing home resident suffering from bedsores can recover monetary damages for the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Caregiver expenses
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional distress
  • Physical impairment
  • Incidental expenses.

Wrongful Death

If a loved one suffered a wrongful death from their injuries, the surviving spouse, heirs, or designated beneficiary of the decedent could recover monetary damages for the following:

  • Loss of financial support that the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse, heirs, or designated beneficiary (if the decedent was a rehab patient who was going to return to work)
  • Funeral expenses

Non-economic damages for grief, sorrow, and loss of companionship can also be recovered. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate can recover the medical expenses for treatment of the bedsores and their complications.