If you or someone you know is bedridden in a long-term-care facility, it is important to remain aware of the seriousness of decubitus ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores.
According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a bed sore is a “localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure…” Most often, bedsores present themselves as red marks or blisters. However, if not treated properly, ulcers can go deeper than the skin, destroying underlying tissue and even reaching bone. More serious forms of pressure ulcers may require reparative surgery.
Saul G. Gruber, in his article “Are Pressure Ulcers Preventable?” says patients most vulnerable to pressure ulcers are the elderly: “About 70 percent of all pressures ulcers occur in people older than 70.” Gruber goes on to say “about 95 percent of pressure ulcers occur in the lower part of the body, specifically the sacrum, coccyx, and different portions of the hip.”
What one must keep in mind is that decubitus ulcers are not always unavoidable and are often the product of poor care in long-term-care facilities. If an ulcer is detected, a proper care plan must be implemented by the facility, a plan which Gruber says should involve bringing in “special mattresses,” instituting “turning and repositioning schedules,” and supplying “medications [and] dressings” to patients.
Such proper care plans are in adherence to Title 42, Part 483 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which also states that a facility “must ensure that… a resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop [them] unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable…”
If you believe that you or someone you know has not received the full extent of the regulations outlined in 42 CFR Part 483, you should contact an experienced Pennsylvania nursing home lawyer to evaluate your case. Your attorney will obtain admissions records and other comprehensive assessments in order to determine if your bedsores are the product of poor care.