Why Do Bedsores Happen?
As a top Orange County personal injury attorney team specializing in elder abuse issues, Case Barnett Law has helped countless clients find justice for their mistreated loved ones. Need help to hold a nursing home or similar facility accountable? Call us at (949) 409-0055 to explore your legal options.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to age with dignity. Unfortunately, many older people don’t get the chance—particularly when they fall prey to negligent caregivers.
Mistreatment in nursing homes and assisted living communities is an all-too-common problem in the U.S., and its effects are devastating. Nursing home abuse can result in a wide range of health problems and, in some cases, even premature death. One of the most prevalent and dangerous physical manifestations of this abuse is bedsores.
Many people hear the word bedsore and assume it’s not as significant as a broken bone or infection, but make no mistake: Bedsores are extremely serious, even life-threatening. They can lead to a number of dangerous complications and are excruciating for the people who bear them. And the worst part of all is that they’re almost entirely preventable.
These are just a few of the reasons why it’s critically important for family members to take action when they suspect an elderly loved one is in danger of developing bedsore. This article will explain the factors that contribute to bedsores, the underlying causes, and why taking legal action may be your best option for finding justice.
Are you concerned that your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect in a nursing home? The time to act is now. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can investigate the situation and lay out your legal options. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.
What Are Bedsores?
When talking about bedsores (also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers), it’s important to understand the context of these injuries and who is affected.
Bedsores are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues caused by prolonged pressure on that area.
They typically develop on skin that covers bony parts of the body, such as on the hips, tailbone, shoulder blades, spine, and heels, but can appear anywhere on the body that has sustained continued periods of pressure.
The people most likely to be affected by bedsores are those with limited mobility who are unable to change positions in a chair or bed. However, it’s important to note that even complete immobility doesn’t condemn someone to develop bedsores. Most of the time, these injuries are easily preventable with diligent care, which is why their occurrence often raises questions of negligence.
What Causes Bedsores?
When a person is unable to move or rotate, they can’t redistribute weight to different parts of their body. As a result, the body parts that are in constant contact with their chair or bed don’t receive adequate blood flow or sufficient oxygen. Without oxygen, the tissue starts to die, which is why immobility is such a pertinent risk factor.
However, immobility and prolonged pressure aren’t the only potential causes of bedsores. These injuries may also result from the following:
- Friction, which occurs when skin rubs against a surface, damaging superficial layers
- Shear, a movement characterized by skin moving in the opposite direction of the underlying bones
- Moisture, which can soften the skin and increase its susceptibility to damage
- Inadequate hygiene, which allows for bacterial growth on the skin and increases the risk of infection
- Malnutrition, which impairs the body’s ability to repair skin damage and tears
- Dehydration, which reduces blood volume and compromises the body’s ability to supply the necessary oxygen and nutrients to tissues
Elderly individuals and nursing home residents are at increased risk for developing bedsores for a few distinct reasons. Many of them are dependent on others to turn and adjust their positions and regularly check their skin for warning signs, as well as to help them bathe and ensure proper nutrition and hydration. Additionally, the skin of elderly individuals is thinner and more susceptible to tear injuries, including friction and shear.
The Real Reason Bedsores Happen
A variety of factors contribute to the development of bedsores, including underlying health conditions, disease, mental health issues and environmental factors. However, they don’t always account for the root cause.
In many cases—especially those involving crowded nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and assisted living facilities—the above-mentioned factors are simply the symptoms of an underlying issue. The real problem often comes down to a failure on the part of medical professionals and caregivers to provide a reasonable standard of care.
Healthcare professionals have a responsibility to provide adequate care to their patients, and breaching that duty can be considered negligence, especially when their patients suffer injuries as a result. Bedsores that develop because a caregiver failed to reposition a patient or ensure they receive proper nutrition and hygiene, for example, may leave both individual providers and larger organizations open to legal action.
Case Barnett Law: Compassionate Elder Abuse Attorneys in California
As leading personal injury attorneys in Southern California, we’ve seen just about every type of accident imaginable. Trust us when we say that few injuries are as heartbreaking as those involving elder abuse and the mistreatment of the elderly.
That’s because—unlike the vast majority of accidents we encounter—bedsores and similar injuries are easily preventable with the proper care. In many instances, they happen because of a healthcare provider’s negligence or larger systemic issues, including a facility’s chronic understaffing and failure to train staff properly.
If you’re concerned that an elderly loved one may be receiving inadequate care and is at risk for developing bedsores, the time to act is now. Luckily, you don’t have to act alone. The experienced elder abuse attorneys at Case Barnett Law can help you investigate and, if necessary, pursue a lawsuit against the negligent parties.