Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, happen to anywhere from 2% to 28% of nursing home patients in the United States today. These sores are considered serious health conditions and are 100% preventable with proper monitoring and care.
That means that if your loved one is experiencing stage 2 pressure ulcers while in the care of a nursing facility, you need to take action. Nursing home abuse is detrimental to the health of your loved one and should be dealt with swiftly.
Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at the Peck Law Group today for a free consultation by calling toll free 866-999-9085.
What are Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that are caused by prolonged skin contact against any surface. They are most common in bony areas such as the elbows, hips, heels, and the base of the spine.
Also known as bed sores and pressure sores, pressure ulcers are very painful and cause a burning sensation that worsens as time goes on.
When pressure sores are allowed to progress unchecked, they will worsen, eventually becoming pus-filled and infected. If the patient continues to be neglected, they could become septic. Without emergency medical treatment, sepsis could lead to death.
Even if a nursing home patient does receive treatment after the onset of stage 2 pressure ulcers, there’s no guarantee that they can be cured completely.
While some sores can heal with treatment, others will never heal fully. That’s why immediate action is vital to preserving the health and well-being of nursing home patients.
Are Pressure Ulcers a Form of Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is a type of elder abuse that happens in long-term care facilities. This neglect is often due to understaffing, poor facility protocols, and negligence.
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is shockingly common.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), around 95% of nursing home residents have experienced nursing home neglect themselves or witnessed it happening to another resident.
Even though nursing home neglect might not seem as threatening as other forms of elder abuse, it has very real emotional and physical effects on nursing home residents – including pressure ulcers going unchecked.
For example, when pressure ulcers arise, it causes pain, distress, and unrest in nursing home patients. Since there’s no guarantee that the ulcers can be cured, neglecting a patient’s sores can cause medical problems for a patient for the rest of their life.
When a nursing home patient contracts pressure ulcers, it’s called medical neglect. This type of neglect is illegal in all fifty states and cannot be tolerated for any reason.
If your loved one has bed sores because of medical neglect in a nursing home, you need to act right away. Contact an attorney that specializes in pressure ulcer injuries at the Peck Law Group today before it’s too late by calling toll free 866-999-9085 or by filling out the free case evaluation form on our website.
What Causes Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers result from prolonged pressure on the skin. Although they can happen to anyone, they are most prevalent among people who are confined to a wheelchair or spend a large amount of time in bed.
The primary cause of pressure ulcers in seniors is nursing home neglect.
To prevent the development of bed sores, nursing home staff must rotate bedridden or wheelchair-confined patients at least every two hours to ensure proper blood flow. When nursing homes are understaffed or employed by personnel who don’t abide by the schedule, pressure sores can result.
Pressure ulcers can arise in as little as a few hours or as many as a few days. That means that just one day at an understaffed nursing home can spell trouble for your loved one.
What’s even more concerning is that nursing home residents can still develop pressure ulcers even if they are frequently turned in bed.
Shearing, another cause of bed sores, occurs when two surfaces are moved in opposite directions. This often happens in nursing homes when residents are moved from one location to another, such as from their bed to a wheelchair.
If nursing home staff don’t take care to move residents gently, pressure ulcers can be the result. Shearing can also occur if residents slide down in bed when they sleep. To avoid this, nursing home staff typically elevates at-risk patients’ heads by at least 30 degrees when sleeping and makes sure to lift residents to move them, rather than sliding or dragging them.
The final most common cause of pressure ulcers is friction. Elderly nursing home residents are especially at risk for friction-caused bed sores since their skin is extremely fragile. Aside from carefully repositioning, nursing home staff must take extra special care to eliminate any crumbs, folds in sheets, or other debris in residents’ beds.
Stage 2 Pressure Ulcers
In the beginning stages of pressure ulcers, a red or purple mark appears on the skin. Ideally, the condition is caught and treated during this time. However, if left neglected, the condition will continue to worsen – eventually progressing to stage 2 pressure ulcers.
Stage 2 pressure ulcers happen when the surface bed sore begins burrowing down into the skin. At this point, the bed sores look similar to pus-filled blisters and are painful to the touch. These wounds can be intact or ruptured, though ruptured wounds pose a more serious risk for infection.
Patients typically experience a burning or itching sensation that ranges from intermittent to constant. The affected areas are tender to the touch and sensitive to any pressure placed on them.
That means that if your loved one is dealing with pressure sores, immediate action is vital to quick relief.
Luckily, since stage 2 pressure ulcers are shallow wounds, they are relatively easy to treat. By keeping the area clean, taking initiatives like saltwater rinses and administering antibiotics, most patients will fully recover anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks after treatment starts.
Stage 2 pressure ulcers are considered the last stage that bed sores can become before neglect of treatment is probable. Ideally, nursing home staff should identify and treat stage 1 pressure ulcers before they progress to stage 2. However, if the progression of the severity stops at stage 2 pressure ulcers, the patient has a good chance at quick recovery.
Even if your loved one’s stage 2 pressure ulcers have been treated, nursing home neglect should still be a concern for your family. Care facility standards should be set high enough that no patient must endure the pain and suffering that bed sores can bring.
Get in touch with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at the Peck Law Group today to find out how you can get justice for your family and hold neglectful nursing homes accountable for their actions.
What Should I Do if My Loved One Has Stage 2 Pressure Ulcers?
It doesn’t take long for pressure ulcers to arise when nursing home neglect is at work. That’s why if your loved one has them, you need to take action immediately.
Legal experts at the Peck Law Group stress that the moment you discover bed sores, you should get your loved one emergency medical attention.
Pressure ulcers are extremely uncomfortable; if left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on your loved one’s mental and physical health. If you wait too long to get help, your loved one may never recover and could even die as a result of their wounds.
Next, it’s a good idea to consider reporting the nursing home to your local authorities. Your state health department is a good place to start. Remember: the sooner you report, the better. Other residents in the nursing home might be experiencing similar problems. State officials have protocols that they can set into motion to hold negligent nursing homes accountable for their actions.
When your loved one has been harmed as a result of nursing home neglect, you need a team on your side that can help you get the justice you and your loved one deserve.
The nursing home staff has an obligation to provide high-quality care that champions good mental and physical health. When this code is violated, it can’t be ignored.
The best way to hold neglectful nursing homes accountable for their actions is by working with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney that knows how to help you.
The Peck Law Group has over 52 years of combined experience in helping victims of elder abuse in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long term care centers.
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.