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.