Bed sores are skin wounds that are caused by pressure. When nursing home patients remain in the same position for a long time, the pressure from their bones and bodies pushing into the bed or wheelchair can damage the skin.
Bed sores generally begin as mild skin abrasions but, without proper care and treatment, can progress into ulcers or wounds that cause deterioration of the skin, tissues and muscles. If bed sores remain untreated for long enough, the damage can penetrate deep into the tissue, muscle and bone, causing severe pain and infection and potentially resulting in death.
Unfortunately while pressure is the cause of bed sores, there are a lot of contributing factors that can make bed sores more likely to develop, more likely to worsen and more likely to become infected and potentially fatal. One of the major contributing factors that can cause bed sores and make them worse is bad hygiene.
Bad Hygiene is a Danger to Nursing Home Patients
A patient who is not kept clean and whose bed and covers are damp or moist will have a significantly increased chance of developing bed sores and of developing complications associated with bed sores.
Unfortunately, most patients who are bedridden or wheelchair bound and who are prone to bed sores due to being unable to change their position will also be unable to tend to their own hygiene needs. These immobile patients will need to count on nursing home staff to clean them so they do not develop a build-up of sweat and dirt. Patients will also depend upon the nursing home staff to make going to the bathroom possible, and to clean soiled bed covers and clothing.
If nursing home staff falls short in any of the duties that they have to their bedridden and wheelchair bound patients, the staff may be considered negligent in the eyes of the law. As such, poor hygiene that leads to bedsores can be an example of nursing home neglect that leads to a nursing home injury lawsuit.
Poor hygiene is also one of the major factors that visiting friends and family members should look for when visiting a family member in a nursing home. If you see that your relative in a nursing home is not being kept clean, if his or her room is soiled or if the bed clothes look dirty, you should take action to make sure that the proper care is being provided.
Nursing home patients don’t deserve to develop bed sores or complications because a nursing home fails to do its job. Unfortunately, understaffing, inadequate training, poor policies and a host of other problems can all cause a patient to be left without sufficient care. When this happens, the injured victim may have a right to compensation for the harm endured due to the nursing home negligence.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.