Recognizing One of the Earliest Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
Turning over the care of your elderly loved one to a nursing home is a difficult decision. However, nursing homes have the staff and training to provide the 24-hour care most people cannot provide in their homes. Unfortunately, even the most highly recommended eldercare facilities can experience staffing and funding issues that ultimately result in patient neglect. To protect the safety of your loved ones, you need to remain vigilant for any signs of neglect — particularly early symptoms, such as bedsores.
As people age, their skin becomes thinner and dryer, causing sores to appear from prolonged pressure. This could occur simply from remaining in one position in bed or sitting in a wheelchair for too long. The Mayo Clinic describes the symptoms of the four stages of bedsores as follows:
- Stage I — At this stage, the skin remains intact, but it may appear red on light-skinned individuals. There is either no color change or a change to ashen, bluish or purple on dark-skinned people. It does not briefly lighten when touched, and the site may be painful.
- Stage II — At this point, the site shows an ulcer. The shallow wound may be intact or blistered.
- Stage III — The ulcer is deep, with loss of skin that may expose some fat.
- Stage IV — At this stage, the wound can be so deep that it exposes muscle, bone and tendons.
Even with responsible care, bedsores may not be completely avoidable, but nursing home staff members need to reposition patients periodically to minimize the risks. They must also recognize signs indicating a need for medical attention. Since this is a common and well-known condition, failure to provide basic care amounts to medical malpractice.
If you notice any signs of bedsores on your loved ones, you should try to address your concerns directly with nursing home management. However, you might also want to speak with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney who can advise you about how to approach the issue and provide additional legal support as needed.