Bedsores are a serious concern for residents of nursing homes. Untreated bedsores in Connecticut nursing homes can lead to serious infections, sepsis, and even death. Proper care is essential to prevent and treat these sores. When nursing home staff fail to care for residents in this way, they can and should be held accountable for their negligence.

Our seasoned nursing home neglect attorneys at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC are committed to protecting the rights of nursing home residents and ensuring they receive the care they deserve. We are here to help you navigate the legal process and seek justice for your loved ones.

What Is a Bedsore?

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, occur when pressure is applied to the skin for an extended period of time. As that pressure is continued and not relieved, there can be skin irritation and, eventually, skin breakdown. The longer this continues, the pressure ulcer will worsen through various stages until it becomes unstageable. Each stage reflects the degree of injury or degradation that the sore is causing. What starts as a small red blanchable area (stage 1) can eventually lead to wounds that are all the way through the skin to the bone (unstageable).

The longer bedsores are not properly cared for, the worse they get, and then the worse they get, the more likely they are to become infected. Once they become infected, it becomes a very serious problem because that infection can then spread through the body, making a person septic and at risk of death.

What Are the Different Stages?

Stage 1,2,3,4, then eventually unstageable. Those different stages depend upon the degree of injury to the skin at any given point in time. Stage 1 is the earliest stage, which, as mentioned above, could be just a red blanchable area, but it’s the beginning of a pressure sore. As that festers and lingers, it can go into deeper layers of the skin. As it goes through deeper layers of the skin, the stages get more serious. Stage 1 and Stage 2 are ones that typically can be healed with proper care. However, the deeper the wound, the more difficult it is to heal. As soon as you see a bedsore on yourself or a loved one, you should seek prompt care.

Types of Harm Caused by Pressure Ulcers

Bedsores cause significant pain. What begins as mere discomfort at stage 1 can quickly progress to extreme pain in the later stages. This intense pain often leads patients to struggle with mental health issues because it’s not pain they can get away from unless they’re medicated for it. If they are medicated for it, then that’s another issue because pain medications can have their own side effects—often cognitive in nature. For nursing home residents who are generally of an older population, this can be dangerous as you don’t want to do something that’s going to affect their already fragile cognition. In some instances, pain is experienced but is not easily expressed due to dementia.

While pain and the subsequent mental effects are harmful, they are not the most serious type of harm caused by bedsores. The most significant consequence of a pressure ulcer is an infection. If it’s not caught early enough, then the most significant consequence is sepsis. As people age, their physical reserve to fight this type of infection is substantially reduced compared to those who are much younger and healthier. A systemic infection is very problematic and, unfortunately, often leads to death.

Treatment Options for Bedsores

Turning and repositioning are the most important things to do for someone with a bedsore in a Connecticut nursing home. You have to relieve the pressure. If you do not relieve the pressure, the source of the problem continues. Certain types of pressure-relieving mattresses can be used in addition to turning and repositioning.

Wound care nurses and doctors are important to involve at an early stage. They can provide various types of ointments, dressings, and procedures to promote healing. Debridement procedures are frequently performed to get rid of all the bad, dead, and necrotic skin so that fresh skin can result in healing. Wound care specialists can also prescribe antibiotics to prevent or control infection.

How Are Pressure Sores a Warning Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

Bedsores are a visible sign that a resident is being neglected by their caretakers. All Connecticut nursing home residents should get bathed on a regular basis and have their clothing changed. During these times, nursing home staff should perform body audits to ensure there are no causes for concern. They should look particularly in areas prone to the development of pressure sores, those of bony prominence, such as the:

  • Coccyx;
  • Elbows;
  • Heels; and
  • Hips.

Thoroughly examining an elderly patient and knowing where to look for bedsores is part of the educational and training process when someone gets into the field of geriatrics. If nursing home staff is doing what they are supposed to, they will recognize a pressure sore right away, and it can be healed. However, if nursing home staff is not delivering the appropriate care, bedsores can develop and worsen, threatening a resident’s life.

We Hold Connecticut Nursing Homes Accountable for Neglect Leading to Bedsores

Bedsores are an indicator of neglect in nursing homes. These painful and potentially life-threatening wounds are usually preventable with appropriate care and attention. Nursing homes must be held accountable for neglecting residents and allowing bedsores to develop and worsen.

If you or a loved one has suffered from preventable bedsores in a Connecticut nursing home, our dedicated attorneys at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC are here to ensure justice and proper care for those affected. Call today for a free case consultation with one of our compassionate legal professionals.