Bed Sores - Treatment
The Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi has handled numerous pressure ulcer cases and understands the consequences that occur as a result of a nursing home withholding care for a pressure ulcer.
When a sore, redness, or any other change in the skin lasts for more than a few days, or if it becomes painful, nursing home staff should immediately notify a doctor of the resident’s condition. If the doctor confirms that a pressure ulcer has developed, then its size, number, location, and depth should first be examined to determine its severity. A treatment plan requires systematic strategies to reverse any underlying conditions that may increase the risk of pressure ulcers in the first place.
The first step in treating a pressure sore is relieving the pressure that caused it. A nursing home resident with a pressure sore should be repositioned regularly and placed in positions that do not pressure the already developed pressure sores. Depending on the resident’s condition, body composition, and ability to move, appropriate pillows, padding, mattresses and beds can be used to help the resident lie in a proper position that relieves pressure on an existent pressure sore.
Cleaning and Dressing
The second step is removing damaged, dead or infected skin tissues through a process called debridement in order to help the wounds heal properly without infection. Depending on the condition of the ulcer, debridement can be done by surgically cutting away the dead tissue, by mechanically removing it through scrubbing or irrigation, or by dissolving it with enzyme preparations. Then the wounds should be cleansed with saline solution only, and dressings should be regularly changed to promote their healing process. Dressings keep a wound moist, absorb drainage, and create a barrier against infection.
Antibacterial drugs may be used if pressure ulcers are not healing after two weeks of proper cleansing and dressing changes. Antibiotics should be used for the residents who have infections in the skin or underlying bone. Again, a physician must be notified and kept involved at all times.
Nursing homes should evaluate the healing process on a weekly basis because it may take from few days to several months for a pressure sore to heal completely, depending on its size and severity. As for prevention measures, the treatment protocols also require adequate staffing levels at nursing homes for frequent repositioning of residents throughout the day, daily cleaning and dressing, and maintenance of good nutrition and hydration. Nursing homes should thus ensure that they have sufficient nursing staff to closely follow pressure ulcer treatment protocols and to prevent any existing pressure ulcer from getting worse. (For more information, please visit California Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog.)
Because they are highly preventable, the development of pressure ulcers at all is often a sign of elder abuse. Needless to say, failure to provide treatment for a pressure ulcer is undoubtedly a clear sign of neglect, and can unfortunately lead to death. If your loved one has suffered from severe pressure ulcers developed in a nursing home in California, or if you believe a nursing home failed to provide adequate care to prevent or treat pressure ulcers, please contact us today. We will evaluate your case for free with our team of experts to determine whether you or your loved one has been subjected to elder abuse.