Where are bedsores most likely to develop?

Bedsores most commonly develop on bony prominences of the body, or areas that are in consistent contact with a bed or chair. Examples include heels, elbows, tailbone, shoulder blades, and the back of the head.

Are nursing homes really safe?

Deciding to place a family member in a nursing home can be a difficult choice to make. We want what is best for our loved ones, and sometimes placing them in a nursing home is our only option. That is why it is important to conduct thorough research on nursing homes and facilities as some provide greater quality of care, supervision, and dedication. Nursing homes are not always unsafe, but you must regularly monitor the treatment of care that your loved one is receiving.

How common is nursing home abuse?

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the most recent major study showed that 7.6% to 10% of study participants experienced abuse in the prior year. According to a study conducted between 1999 and 2001, the numbers reported indicated that almost 1/3 of nursing homes in the U.S. were cited for an abuse violation during that time.

How can I ensure my loved one is properly cared for?

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care offers the following advice for families and caregivers:

  • Make Unannounced Visits: One of the best ways for you to determine if something is amiss at your loved one’s nursing home residence is by making unannounced visits. Visit at different times of day, different days of the week, and at different intervals.  This will give you a good idea of staffing and will provide a varied look at your loved one’s mental and physical wellbeing.
  • Report Problems Immediately: If you have concerns about your loved one’s care, don’t delay in reporting problems to nursing home staff or administrators. Document your concerns, and if no action is taken, send documentation to supervisors in writing, and request a meeting in person.
  • Get Outside Help: After addressing your concerns to staff and supervisors or administrators, if you feel like nothing is being done, it is time to seek outside help. Contact a local advocacy group, Ombudsman, or Adult Protective Services (APS) and file a report or complaint about your concerns.

How common are bedsores?

According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, bedsores affect as many as 2.5 million patients every year.  Of those, around 60,000 patients die every year as a direct result of bedsores or related complications.

What are the stages of besores?

Bedsores are given a “stage” based on the symptoms and severity of the wound. These stages include:

Stage 1 – In stage 1 the skin will look discolored or red.  The skin is not broken, but may be tender.  You will notice that the discoloration does not change or fade once the pressure has been removed.

Stage 2 – Stage 2 bed sores can be identified by a shallow open sore on the very top layer of the skin.  While there may be some slight drainage, it is not present in all stage 2 bed sore cases.

Stage 3 – As in stage 2, stage 3 bed sores are identifiable by the open sore that is present at the pressure site.  Stage 3 bed sores are much deeper than that which you would see in stage 2 bed sores reaching the second layer of skin and into the fatty tissues beneath it.

Stage 4 –  Stage 4 bed sores are the most severe and often require surgery.  The breakdown of tissue will extend down to the muscle or even the bone.  There will be a lot of dead tissue and fluid present.

How much does a nursing home abuse claim cost?

The exact cost of any legal case is difficult to ascertain in advance. For this reason, our office operates on a contingency fee basis and offers free initial consultations. The cost of protecting your loved one and family should not be your primary concern.

How should I prepare for the consultation?

While there is no specific list of information required during the consultation, the more information you can provide up front, the easier it will be for our staff to assess your case and get additional information. Information that is helpful during the initial consultation includes the contact information of the nursing home and relevant staff, dates and times any injuries occurred or were noticed, medical records, the individual’s will and power of attorney, relevant photographs, and any information you feel is pertinent to the case.

What can I expect when I have an initial consultation with a nursing home abuse law firm?

When you have an initial consultation, you can expect to speak with a caring staff member who will listen to your concerns and offer initial guidance. Our staff offers gentle, compassionate support for you and your loved ones, and is well aware of how difficult these cases can be.

Should I contact an attorney if I suspect nursing home abuse?

Yes. If you suspect nursing home abuse, it is extremely important that you contact an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse. Every state has specific guidelines concerning elder abuse, along with laws and regulations for nursing homes. Contacting an attorney is the best way to be certain that the rights of you and your loved ones are protected and properly defended.

What are the responsibilities of nursing homes toward my loved one?

Nursing homes are required to provide a “standard of care” that promotes safe, healthy, ethical living standards for residents. That includes supporting a safe environment, hiring staff members who have a clear criminal record, providing medical and medication support, providing healthy meals, and offering social activities and access to physical exercise.

What are the signs of nursing home abuse?

Nursing home abuse or neglect can include numerous physical and emotional signs and symptoms. Some of the most common signs of abuse include:

  • Physical abuse: Keep an eye out for unexplained bruising, broken bones, burns, pressure sores, or neglected hygiene
  • Emotional abuse: Sudden changes in mood, increased anxiety or depression, withdrawing from social and family activities, and fearful behaviors may all be indicators of a problem
  • Sexual abuse: Signs of sexual abuse may include physical and emotional indicators, along with genital or anal pain or bleeding, or the presence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Financial abuse: Financial exploitation of the elderly is a significant problem in the U.S. Signs of financial abuse include unexplained discrepancies in financial records, sudden changes in named beneficiaries, missing property, uncharacteristic spending

What should I do if I believe a loved one is being abused or neglected by a nursing home?

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected by nursing home staff members, there are several options to open an investigation. First, if there are physical signs of abuse or neglect, you can always call 911. Most jurisdictions also have a specific organization designed to handle elder abuse cases, known as Adult Protective Services (APS). In addition to these actions, it is also recommended that you consult with an attorney who is skilled in elder abuse and nursing home laws.