El Paso Pressure Ulcer Attorney
Your Loved One Should Not Develop a Pressure Ulcer in a Nursing Home
Pressure ulcers are considered a leading cause of preventable injury and death among hospital patients and nursing home residents. At Brown, Christie & Green, our El Paso pressure ulcer attorney receives calls and questions about pressure ulcers from concerned family members on a regular basis. Family members often want to know how and why pressure ulcers develop, and what they can do to protect their loved ones.
Since pressure ulcers are preventable, families often question whether their loved one was the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home.
Pressure Ulcer Information for Families
Basic standards of care for non-ambulatory patients in long-term care facilities are designed to ensure that patients who arrive without pressure ulcers do not develop them. There are also standards of care related to managing at-risk patients, as well as those who show signs of a developing ulcer.
Pressure ulcers are sometimes called bedsores or decubitus ulcers, and they are 100 percent preventable. Unless a care facility can prove that the patient’s clinical condition makes the formation of pressure ulcers unavoidable, the presence of these ulcers is considered to be neglect and a failure on the part of the facility to meet the patient’s basic needs.
If you are concerned about pressure ulcers and your loved one’s care, contact our El Paso pressure ulcer attorney today.
The Real Costs of Pressure Ulcers
The costs associated with treating a pressure ulcer rise sharply the longer the injury is left untreated and progresses to a more advanced stage. The cost of prevention can be considered included in the wages of a responsible caregiver. Nurses, CNAs, or orderlies should diligently reposition an immobile patient to prevent pressure ulcers. For a patient unable to move his or her own limbs, this care is considered as basic as proper nutrition and sanitation. Omitting it is simply not acceptable.
When pressure ulcers do begin to form, the cost of treatment begins to mount. For a stage 1 pressure ulcer, the skin is irritated and has experienced a lack of blood flow for too long. Caregivers can simply spend more time with the patient to pay particular attention to the affected area making sure healthy blood flow is reestablished.
Stage 2 bed sores will show a blister or shallow crater in the skin. This, too, is fairly easily and inexpensively treated with additional care and disinfection and topical treatment of the wound.
Stage 3 and 4 bedsores are nightmarish injuries that often require surgery to repair. At this point, the pressure ulcer has decayed the skin and leaves an open wound that may show through to underlying tendons, or bone in the most severe cases. In addition to the unimaginable pain a bedsore like this can cause, the cost of treatment is enormous. If the patient should develop an infection because of the open wound or experience any complications from surgery, costs will reach tens of thousands of dollars very quickly.
Get Answers to Your Pressure Ulcer Questions
If your loved one has developed a pressure ulcer, call an El Paso pressure ulcer attorney to learn more about your loved one’s legal rights. The bottom line is this – if your loved one did not have a pressure ulcer when he or she entered the nursing home, these injuries should not have developed.
If your family member was neglected to the point of requiring surgery to treat pressure ulcers, the costs associated with that treatment could be recovered by a nursing home abuse claim. Contact the award-winning El Paso pressure ulcer attorney at Brown, Christie & Green for a free claim evaluation today.
- Conduct routine skin assessments
- Keep skin clean, dry, and moisturized
- Develop a continence management plan when applicable
- Ensure proper nutrition and hydration
- Develop appropriate exercise routine
- Reposition at least once every 2 hours
Nursing home residents are entitled to quality care that meets standards and guidelines, including pressure ulcer prevention.
Emerging Trends in Pressure Ulcer Prevention
As science and technology advance, so do the strategies used for preventing injuries like pressure ulcers. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) publishes a document titled “Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Quick Reference Guide”. This guide offers valuable information about pressure ulcer prevention strategies based on the standards of care and federal guidelines.
The Quick Reference Guide also addresses emerging trends in therapy for preventing pressure ulcers. These include:
Microclimate control uses specialized surfaces that have the ability to monitor and control temperature, moisture, and support. Some surfaces include mattresses, linens, pillowcases, and cushions.
It has been suggested that polyurethane foam dressings could be added to bony parts of the body – elbows, knees, heels, etc. – as a means of preventing friction and interruption of blood supply. Prophylactic dressings would need to meet certain guidelines, however, including:
- Ease of applying and removal
- Managing microclimate inside the dressing
- Ability of caregivers to monitor skin under the dressing
- Dressing size appropriate for area
Fabrics and Textiles
The type of fabric used for linens, clothing, and dressings can impact the risk of developing a pressure ulcer. Fabric that is heavy, textured, and does not breathe well is more likely to contribute to pressure ulcer development than fabric that is lightweight, smooth, and breathable. It is recommended to use cotton-blend fabrics to reduce friction and shear.
There is some evidence that electrical stimulation in certain muscle groups could help prevent pressure ulcers from developing in patients with spinal cord injuries. Electrical stimulation would be restricted to bony prominence and at-risk areas based on the patient.