Nursing Home Abuse Case – $275,000 Settlement

On behalf of his four children, a lawsuit was filed alleging that their father’s death was due in part to substandard care at his nursing facility and a pattern of neglect. When patients at long term facilities are left in bed for too long without moving or turning them, a bedsore which is a type of ulcer, may occur. Although treatable if caught early, this bedsore was allowed to grow very large, and without proper treatment was a contributing factor to this man’s death. After extensive negotiations with the attorneys and insurance company for the nursing home, a settlement in excess of $275,000 was reached for the benefit of his children.

Causes of Bedsores

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, typically don’t affect those who have a normal range of movement and don’t spend a lot of time in bed. They do however, usually affect older people, or those who because of illness, paralysis, frailty, coma, or recuperation from surgery, are unable to move without the assistance of others. Patients who have spinal cord injuries or other conditions which reduce their sensation are also at greater risk because they may not feel a bedsore while it develops.

Preventative Measures

When a loved one is a resident of a nursing home, hospital or other long term facility, it’s vital for nurses or other medical staff to move and adjust the patient on a regular basis to avoid onset of such ulcers. Failure to do so greatly enhances the risk that this condition will appear. Although such ulcers typically appear due to pressure on bony parts of the body including the tailbone and the heel, excessive friction or “shear” (when the underlying bones move in the opposite direction of the skin) can also create the condition.

For those who have the ability and strength to move themselves, some common preventative suggestions include:

  • Adjust your bed’s elevation to greater than 30 degrees if possible
  • Lift yourself occasionally if you can by pushing up on the wheelchair arms and doing occasional “wheelchair push-ups”
  • Try to reposition yourself by shifting in bed every 15 minutes or so
  • Select special mattresses or cushions that can help alleviate and redistribute the pressure
  • Have someone apply talcum powder to the skin to help avoid friction
  • Keep the skin dry and clean, using a mild cleanser and patting the area dry
  • Maintain good nutrition and stopping smoking
  • Perform some exercises if possible to increase blood flow and circulation

Symptoms of Pressure Ulcers

When visiting your loved one, it is good idea to periodically check for warning signs of bed sores which tend to include:

  • Drainage of liquid or pus
  • Swelling of tissues
  • Changes of skin texture or color which don’t change once pressure is removed
  • Temperature of skin that feels warmer or colder than the surrounding skin

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem that affects all segments of our society. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 11% of recent nursing home residents had pressure ulcers. If you believe that a loved one has been hurt due to the negligence of others, call Sexner & Associates LLC any time of day at 800-996-4824.

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