Bedsores, which are also referred to as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, are—sadly and unnecessarily—a common occurrence. Since bedsores are caused by immobility, they often occur as a result of negligence on the part of a healthcare provider who fails to attend to the well-being of the patient. Bedsores are painful and in some cases life-threatening, yet they are easily avoided if a healthcare provider takes the proper precautions.
Bedsores are injuries to the skin and tissue beneath the skin (epidermis and dermis) and occur as a result of pressure on the skin, usually from a bed or wheelchair. This pressure decreases blood flow that delivers oxygen and other nutrients to tissues. If the nutrients are not delivered properly, the skin cells and tissue may become damaged and die. Sustained pressure is caused by immobility, which is associated with conditions such as general poor health, sedation, surgery recovery, paralysis, and comatose.
Bedsores often occur on skin protecting bony parts of the body, since the skin faces more pressure due to the friction between the bone and outside surface. As bedridden people or those in wheelchairs are most susceptible to bedsores, they frequently occur on the tailbone, buttocks, shoulder blades, spine, backs of arms and legs, back or sides of head, rims of the ears, hips, lower back, heels, ankles, and the skin behind knees.
There are four stages of bedsores. The first stage is characterized by red, sore, and unbroken skin, which may be tender or warm. The second stage occurs when the epidermis and part of the dermis is damaged or lost and the sore resembles a large blister. The third stage occurs when the sore becomes a deep wound and there is a loss of skin exposing fat. The bottom of the wound is comprised of a yellowish dead tissue and the damage could extend below the layers of healthy tissue. The fourth and final stage of bedsores consists of a large scale loss of tissue and may expose muscle, bone, and/or tendon. The tissue is dead, yellow or dark in color, and crusty. The damage may extend below the wound. Bedsores may also be considered “unstageable,” in that the surface is covered with dark tissue so that the depth of the wound is not visible.
Bedsores can lead to extremely serious, potentially life-threatening conditions. The most common consequence of stage III and IV bedsores is sepsis, which occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream through the sore. The bacteria rapidly spread throughout the body and infect it. If left untreated, sepsis can lead to organ failure. Bedsores can also lead to cellulitis, an infection of the skin and soft tissues, and bone and joint infections, which are all life-threatening illnesses. In rare cases, bedsores may lead to the development of a cancerous cell that grows specifically in non-healing wounds.
Stage I and II bedsores may be healed within several weeks with effective treatment through the use of pain management medication and antibiotics. Stage III and IV bedsores are much more difficult to treat. If a person experiences signs of a bedsore, the best treatment is to move, if possible. If there are no signs of improvement within 24-48 hours, the wound may be infected, and a doctor must be called. The signs of an infected bedsore include: fever, drainage from the sore, increased heat, and/or redness surrounding the sore. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Bedsores are caused by immobility; when a person cannot move on their own, it is the responsibility of their caretaker to make sure that they are moved, turned, and bathed regularly. For this reason, bedsores frequently occur as a result of negligence, typically in rehab facilities, hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes.
If you or a loved one is suffering from bedsores due to insufficient attention or the carelessness of a healthcare facility, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.
Hip fractures are one of the most serious fall-related injuries, which can lead to life-altering complications, particularly for older people. The elderly are more susceptible to fractures after a fall due to weakness, fragile bones, and osteoporosis. Most hip fractures occur in people over the age of 65. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year over 300,000 elderly people are hospitalized for hip fractures with 95% of hip fractures caused by a fall. However, the number of hip fractures for elderly people will increase as the U.S. population gets older. Women are more susceptible to falls than men.
- Pain areas: hip or groin;
- Abnormal walking, bruising, stiffness, swelling around the hip area;
- Inability to move after a fall;
- Shorter leg on the side of your injured hip.
A hip fracture is a serious injury that might require surgical repair or replacement. After the surgery, there is usually a lengthy recovery and physical therapy process. The extent of the break often depends on the force that caused the break. According to University of Chicago Medicine (UCM), only one in four hip fracture patients are likely to make a full recovery.
Although surgery is successful in most cases, you may have complications afterwards. A hip fracture can keep an elderly person immobile for a long time, which can lead to serious complications such as:
- Urinary tract infection;
- Blood clots in your legs or lungs
Additionally, hip fractures have a higher tendency of recurrence. If an elderly care facility or one of its employees has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.
Many families have experienced the stress and expense involved in finding the right elder care facility or nursing home for a loved one. Placing someone in a nursing home is a very difficult decision and you can only hope that they receive the best possible care and attention. Unfortunately, many nursing home residents become victims of the “hidden crime” of elder abuse and neglect. While most of these cases go unreported, nearly 6 million nursing home residents suffer from abuse or neglect on some level.
Nursing home victims are often reluctant to report this mistreatment for various reasons, such as fear of retaliation, or a lack of cognitive ability to report. Often this abuse is due to shortage of staff, lack of adequate employee training, or a lack of procedure for detecting abuse.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), “elders who experienced abuse (even modest abuse) had a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused.” California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania have the most cases of elder abuse annually in the nation. Elder care abuse occurs in care facilities by service providers, staff members, other patients, or even guests (visitors).
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Most nursing home residents are unaware of elder care law and its protections. Nursing home residents are often unable to communicate this abuse and/or neglect from their caregivers. Victims of nursing home abuse can suffer severe physical, emotional, psychological, and financial abuse. It is possible that a nursing home resident is being abused if the staff member refuses to let a visitor see a resident or insists on being present during visitation.
Signs of abuse can be emotional (behavior and/or personality changes), physical (unexplained accident or injury), and sexual (unexplained venereal diseases such as genital infections, vaginal or anal bleeding, bruising of the breasts, or inner thighs).
Other examples of abuse can include:
- Intimidation or use of threats
- Medication errors
- Poor bathroom facilities
- Not providing food at the specified time or at a prescribed schedule
- Failure to treat or provide emergency care
- Lack of adequate supervision, such as when a patient leaves the facility without authorization
- Abandonment (inadequate daily care)
- Failure to groom and/or clean residents
Nursing Home and Elder Law
By law, nursing homes must provide the highest standard of care to their residents. Federal and state laws are designed to protect nursing home residents from abuse or neglect, as well as regulate the quality of care required. Elder abuse can cause illness, discomfort, or death, and is often referred to as “institutional abuse.”
Most state laws require doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals to report suspected institutional abuse to the designated state office. Other laws mandate annual inspections, impose sanctions for violations, and require nursing homes to be licensed in order to operate.
Elder Care Legal Help
If a family member or someone you know has been abused in a nursing home or other facility, you should report the matter to the proper authorities immediately and consider taking legal action. To learn more about the rights of those in nursing homes, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team.
Recurrent falls are common causes of hospitalization and death among the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.5 million older people are treated in the emergency department for fall-related injuries per year, and over 50% of falls among elderly people result in an injury with long-term implications (e.g. decreased physical function or fear of falling). The fear of falling can discourage older people from keeping active which can increase joint stiffness, weakness, and reduce mobility. Fear of falling can also cause a person to change or cut down their usual daily activities, which may result in isolation or being institutionalized. Most elderly people cannot get up without help after a fall, sometimes remaining stationary for hours, increasing the risk of dehydration, pressure ulcers, rhabdomyolysis, hypothermia, and pneumonia.
Falls can result in significant injuries such as broken bones and head trauma. Head injuries can be very serious and it is advisable that an older person seek immediate medical attention after a fall to make sure they don’t have a brain injury. Other injuries such as hip fractures can impact mobility, sense of freedom/fear of being institutionalized.
Research has identified several conditions that contribute to falling:
- Vision impairment.
- Lack of balance or deficits in postural balance: An elderly person may lack the ability to maintain or recover balance from a fall.
- Foot pain.
- Multitasking while walking.
- Failure to notice environmental hazards (broken or uneven steps, lack of handrails in the bathroom or stairs).
- Vitamin D deficiency.
- Lower body weakness.
- Use of medicines (a psychoactive drug or psychotropic substance): the number of drugs taken and the use of drugs contributes to the risk of falls.
While these risk factors are the leading causes of most falls, healthcare providers can help to reduce or eliminate these factors.
Families can also take active steps to help reduce loved one’s risk of falling. These steps include:
- Ask a healthcare provider to evaluate the risk of falling.
- Ask a pharmacist or a doctor to review the side effects of medications that may contribute to falls.
- Exercise: do strength and balance exercise to make your legs stronger and improve balance.
- Encourage to schedule annual appointment with an ophthalmologist (MD) or an osteopathic (DO).
- Remove all obstacles that can make someone trip over.
- Add grab bars in the bathroom and railings on the stairs.
- Add bright bulbs around the house.
If an elderly care facility or one of its employees has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.
Bed rails, which are metal bars placed around a bed, are designed to prevent falls. Typically found in homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, bed rails provide many benefits to users. However, they may also pose several health and safety risks.
In addition to fall prevention, bed rails make it easier for a patient to move around in bed and reposition themselves. Bed rails aid in a patient’s transitions in and out of bed, giving them a greater sense of independence, as a patient will not be reliant on nursing home staff for assistance. Additionally, many bed rails contain side pockets which allow the patient easier access to personal items and bed controls. Perhaps most importantly, bed rails help a patient feel safe and secure as they sleep and rest in bed.
Bed rails are recommended to patients who are generally weak, have poor balance, face difficulty moving around, and are prone to falling out of bed. They are a safer, more efficient, and less expensive alternative to bed restraints.
While bed rails are of great help to most users, they can also prove to be harmful. On some occasions, a patient may become entangled within the bars of the bed rail or stuck between the mattress and the bed rail. A user may also attempt to climb out of bed over the rails, leading to a dangerous fall. These accidents can cause bruising, cuts, scrapes, other bodily injuries, and even death. Between 1985 and January 2009, there were 803 incidents of bed rail accidents reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These incidents lead to 480 deaths and 138 nonfatal injuries. Not all incidents were reported to the FDA– there were 37,000 individuals brought to a hospital emergency room as a result of bed rail injury between 2003 and 2011 alone. In addition to causing physical injury, bed rails may also be psychologically detrimental if a patient feels isolated or needlessly restricted.
Bed rails must be used carefully. Upon entering a healthcare facility, a patient should be assessed to determine their compatibility with bed rails. The elderly and those with mental or physical limitations must be frequently monitored to ensure their safety. In order to prevent unnecessary and potentially unsafe exits from the bed, it is imperative that a patient’s healthcare team determines and meets the patient’s present and future needs regarding thirst, hunger, restlessness, pain, and bathroom use. It may also be helpful to lower the portion of the bed rail located at the foot of the bed so that in the case that the patient wants to leave, they can do so safely as opposed to climbing over the rail.
To make sure that the patient does not become trapped between the mattress and the bed frame, the healthcare facility should use mattresses fitted to the bed rail. Most importantly, a patient’s healthcare team should check in frequently, asking the patient if he or she needs anything and ensuring that they are comfortable in bed.
It is essential that a patient’s healthcare team talk to the patient and the patient’s family to make sure that the use of a bed rail is the right choice. In some situations, the risks associated with the use of a bed rail outweigh the benefits. However, in other cases, this scenario is reversed. If it is determined that bed rail use is the best course of action, then the patient’s need for a bed rail should be reassessed regularly.
If you or a loved one has been injured or has died from an accident involving a bed rail or lack thereof, you can reach the experienced New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 for a free case consultation.
As Americans enjoy extended life spans, the elderly population grows. In fact, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that the elderly population of those 65 and over will increase to 83.7 million by 2050. In many cases, the elderly require constant care from trained professions/caregivers available only in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. As a result, in 2014, there were 1.4 million nursing home residents.
Many families entrust their loved ones to nursing or extended-living care facilities when they can longer provide the care and attention that they require. Finding the right facility to care for an elderly family member can often be a challenging endeavor. Given the level of care expected for our loved ones, we go to great lengths to ensure that the facility we choose is looking after the best interests of their residents. While most nursing homes provide quality care to their elderly residents, the fact remains that nursing home abuse and negligence continues to be a national epidemic. According to the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS) data, in 2014 there were 188,599 complaints filed against elder care facilities; of these complaints, 14,258 (7.6%) involved incidents of abuse, and neglect. Unfortunately, most complaints of elderly abuse and injury go unreported.
There are a number of ways elder abuse can occur in nursing homes or similar care facilities. The most common forms of abuse involve emotional trauma, including shouting, criticism, social isolation, neglect, and threats. This form of abuse negatively impacts an individual’s emotional well-being and is considered negligence on the part of the facility and its staff.
Another serious concern is financial exploitation of vulnerable elderly residents. Nursing home residents are frequently forced by their caregivers to disclose and/or permit access to sensitive personal information such as bank accounts, credit cards, social security numbers, and even cash. This misconduct clearly violates an individual’s privacy and may lead to further instances identity theft or embezzlement. If your loved one is currently or soon to be in a nursing home, it is important to be vigilant in making sure they do not become a victim to their surroundings. It is recommended that you monitor your loved one’s personal property as well as their demeanor and emotional state. For example, it is important to observe your loved one’s behavior when a caregiver is around, question them about the type of care they are receiving, and make certain their financial affairs are in order.
In sum, nursing home negligence robs victims of their dignity, sense of security, and emotional stability. If your loved one has suffered abuse or other indignities in a nursing home, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today.
Falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and accidental deaths in persons over the age of 65. According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), in 2014, the elderly represented 14.5% of the United States population which is set to grow 21.7% by 2040, reaching 98 million by 2060. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among elderly persons. Although falls are a common cause of injury among elderly, they are often overlooked.
The risk of falling increases significantly with age. It is estimated that accidental deaths account for 70 percent in persons 75 years of age and older in both sexes. Elderly persons are more susceptible to falls due to long-term health conditions and diminished strength and reaction time. Elderly who fall are more likely to be hospitalized or die as a result of a fall. In the United States, it is estimated that one out of three elderly persons over the age of 65 will fall at least once a year with half of them having frequent falls. Every 13 seconds an elderly person is treated in the emergency room for a fall with 60% of falls occur in nursing homes and elderly care facilities. According to research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 20 minutes an elderly person dies from a fall.
Falls can be caused by medication use, cognitive impairment, and sensory deficits. Any types of falls whether fatal or non-fatal will impact someone’s life. In addition to physical injury, falls can cause a psychological impact on elderly persons, including as a loss of confidence, fear of falling again, and limitations in their activities. This can result in a further physical decline, isolation, depression, and feelings of neglect.
September 1st is National Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This initiative aims to draw attention to the problem and offer elderly adults practical solutions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), older persons who are living in nursing homes fall more often than those who are living in a community.
Most falls require immediate medical and ongoing attention. An elderly person or assisted living facility might not report a fall for a variety of reasons. It’s important to look at any indication of fall-related injuries, such as bruises and abrasions. Federal law provides guardians and/or relatives a legal right to see resident’s chart and medical records.
If an elderly care facility or one of its employees has acted negligently or has failed to take reasonable steps to prevent a fall, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, at (212) 779-0057 today for a free consultation. Our team is experienced in elderly negligence cases and we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the elderly.
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers, are caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. Bedsores can cause infections and other life-threatening conditions like cancer, sepsis, gas gangrene, and bone and joint infections. Bedsores usually develop in areas of the body where bone and skin are in very close contact (bony areas), such as the skin around or near the back of the head, shoulders, elbows, back, hips, tailbone, and especially along the spine, ankles, and heels.
In a nursing home setting, bedsores are a common problem and one of the many signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Nursing home residents frequently contract bedsores due to their lack of mobility, often remaining sedentary in a bed or wheelchair. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of residents in nursing homes currently suffer from bedsores.
Bedsores are categorized based on their severity, as follows:
Stage 1 is the least severe. At this stage, the sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful but there are no breaks or tears. However, the person will experience persistent redness of the skin.
At stage 2 the skin breaks open and forms an ulcer that might appear as a blister. There may be a loss of partial thickness of the skin as the sore extends into deeper layers of the skin. At this stage, the skin becomes tender and painful.
During stage 3 the sore gets worse and the ulcer exhibits a loss of full thickness of the skin, with the sore extending into the tissue beneath the skin until a deep crater is visible.
Stage 4 is the most severe sore causing extensive damage. At this stage, the sore is very deep, causing a loss of full thickness of the skin and reaching into muscle and bone.
Bedsores are extremely painful and are considered to be serious medical conditions. In fact, the presence or lack of bedsores is one of the main ways that quality of care in a nursing home can be assessed. Bedsores are preventable if nursing home staff members follow proper medical care and daily patient monitoring procedures.
Nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities are supposed to provide their patients with high-quality care. There are specific standards that care facilities must follow to ensure that they provide the necessary quality care and services. When a new patient enters a facility, the facility must provide the “necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing.” These standards can be found in the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 483.25(c), created by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as other agencies.
Bedsores Legal Help
Bedsores often develop through neglect, when the patient does not receive adequate care, including the failure to regularly reposition immobilized residents. A nursing home may be held liable or legally responsible for any bedsores that an individual subsequently suffers.
If your loved one is suffering from bedsores due to the inattention or inadequate care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect attorney of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057 to speak with a qualified New York elder injury attorney.
If you have chosen to utilize the benefits of a nursing home, you should be aware of signs of abuse. Common signs of nursing home abuse include the following:
- Physical neglect, including bedsores, may indicate the nursing home staff fails to provide residents with the necessities of daily living
- Residents who suffer from frequent falls, which can indicate that they may not be receiving adequate oversight from the nursing home staff, or they may be victims of poorly maintained equipment or facilities
- Withdrawal or isolation can be a sign that staff is failing to provide a nursing home resident with adequate assistance or attention.
- Frequent infections could mean that nursing home staff is failing to follow proper hand washing techniques.
The sooner you identify a potential problem with a nursing home, the earlier you can file a compelling lawsuit that may help you put an end to unlawful actions by the nursing home staff.
Simple Steps to Finding the Right Nursing Home
When selecting a nursing home, it is important to find a facility that suits the health needs of your family. Some of the things you may want to consider when choosing a nursing home include:
- Compile a list of potential nursing homes within traveling distance.
- Speak to friends, neighbors, senior groups, and social groups about potential facilities
- Check the Medicare and Medicaid website for a list of certified nursing facilities
- Determine the facility’s proximity to family members and friends so that visits can be as frequent as possible
- Make an unannounced visit to the facility to determine the general feel of the place. Ask questions:
- Is the atmosphere friendly?
- How does the staff treat residents?
- Is the facility clean?
- How is the temperature?
- How is the food?
- What steps are taken in the event of a medical emergency?
- Are there trained medical professionals on staff?
- Where is the nearest hospital to the facility?
- After the unscheduled walk-through, set up an appointment with the facility’s administrator to ask questions regarding visitation, meals, hiring practices, and staff requirements.
- Finally, try to determine the overall quality of life of the residents. Does the facility provide social events? Opportunities to interact with friends and other residents?
If you feel a loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at the hands of a nursing or elder care facility staff, contact the New York nursing home abuse and elderly neglect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, online or call (212) 779-0057. We believe very strongly that our seniors should be treated with dignity and respect and we will fight to ensure they receive such care.