What should you do if you find bedsores on a bedridden patient?

ATTENTION: The presence of bedsores is often indicative of a nursing home’s neglect both in causing and failing to prevent such ulcers.

As advocates for the elderly and their families, The Ruth Law Team has many years of experience handling hundreds of cases resulting from the negligence and resulting patient abuse that occurs in many nursing homes. You can learn more about how to recognize signs of nursing home neglect by referring to the Nursing Home Abuse section of this site.

Ulcers are sores that develop when a person’s body weight goes unrelieved for an extended period of time. Ulcers go by many different names, such as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, bedsores, and decubitus ulcers.

For more information about how a bedsore attorney may be able to help, call us at 888-345-5849.

Ulcers are generally classified as belonging to one of four distinct stages depending on the extent of the pressure injury.

Stage I:
The sore is a reddened area that does not turn white when finger pressure is applied. This is known as non-blanching erythema and indicates that there has been some actual damage to the top (epidermal) layer of the skin.

Stage II:
The sore sustained a partial loss of the skin layer. The ulcer presents itself as an open sore with a red or pinkish wound. It may be open or intact and resemble a serum filled blister.

Stage III:
This stage has full-thickness skin loss and is presented as a crater exposing subcutaneous fat. Bones, tendons, or muscles are not exposed.

Stage IV:
This stage has full-thickness skin loss that extends through the subcutaneous fat and into the muscle, bone, or tendon.

The stage that an ulcer progresses will depend on many factors such as:

  • How long the pressure went unrelieved
  • The health and blood supply of the surrounding tissues
  • The overall nutrition of the resident
  • The presence of skin irritants such as urine or feces by the wound

In a typical healthy person, ulcers do not normally form because the person is continuously moving around and making minor adjustments to relieve any long term pressure. Nursing home residents who lack the ability or awareness to make these continuous pressure relief adjustments are very susceptible to developing ulcers. It is the nursing home’s duty to be aware of these residents who are at an increased risk for developing ulcers and to take the appropriate measures to prevent the development of ulcers. Since Stage III and Stage IV ulcers take time to develop, the presence of these ulcers is often indicative of a nursing homes neglect in causing or preventing these ulcers.

Nursing homes are supposed to have a sufficient staff size to ensure that each resident is receiving the appropriate care needed. The primary advocacy group for nursing home patients is the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, and they have promulgated and promoted the following minimum ratios or nursing aides:

  •  Day shift: One Aide per 5 residents
  •  Evening shift: One Aide per 10 residents
  •  Night shift: One Aide per 15 residents

If you or someone you know has developed ulcers while in the care of a nursing home and would like to speak to an attorney who is experienced in this area, please call The Ruth Law Team at 1-888-Steve-Ruth (1-888-345-5849) for a free consultation.