Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, are wounds caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. Ordinarily, they develop adjacent to bony prominences, such as on the elbow, heel, hip, shoulder, back, and back of the head. Pressure ulcers are serious medical conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that their prevalence among the population at a nursing home is an important measure of the quality of clinical care being provided to the residents. According to CDC data, approximately 11 percent of all nursing home residents have pressure ulcers.
Four Stages of Pressure Ulcers
Medically speaking, pressure ulcers present themselves in four stages, based primarily on the depth of soft tissue damage:
- Stage 1: The least serious, consists of persistent redness of skin
- Stage 2: The loss of partial thickness of skin appearing as an abrasion, blister, or shallow crater in patients
- Stage 3: Similar to Stage 2, except that the crater is deep
- Stage 4: The most serious stage, where there is a loss of full thickness of skin, exposing muscle or bone
Lack of Attention and Improper Medical Care
Pressure ulcers and bedsores aren’t new problems. They have been a significant problem in nursing homes throughout the United States for many years. In many instances, pressure ulcers are caused by a lack of attention on the part of medical staff. Once the sores have been identified, they should be treated immediately.
The CDC points to a number of other important statistics with regard to the incidence of pressure ulcers and bedsores. For example:
- One in five nursing home residents with a recent weight loss develops pressure ulcers
- Residents aged 64 years or younger are more likely to have pressure ulcers than older residents
- Residents for a year or less are more likely to have bed sores than those who reside in nursing homes longer
Complications from Pressure Ulcers
Complications from pressure ulcers and bedsores include:
- Prolonged rehabilitation
- Permanent disability
According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, pressure ulcers affect up to 2.5 million patients per year. Costs associated with such ulcers and sores range from $9.1 to $11.6 billion per year annually in the US. Given that they are so common and that they are largely avoidable with proper care, one would think the medical community would be keen to address the issues. Unfortunately, many nursing homes and medical professionals prefer to sweep the problem under the rug.
E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Experienced, Caring Attorneys
Has a member of your family suffered from pressure ulcers and bedsores while confined to a nursing home? Do you suspect that the loved one has received less than adequate treatment? If so, your family may have a valid claim for damages. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the experience to handle your loved one’s case. If there has been maltreatment or neglect, we can help you protect your family’s interests and perhaps help other families avoid this unnecessary pain and suffering. While we are experts at negotiating an appropriate settlement, we also have the skill, resources, and tenacity to take your case to trial, if necessary.
We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We have been representing clients for more than 125 years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 284-3183 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.