Bedsores are common and serious injuries suffered by Kentucky nursing home residents.

Bedsores form when there is unrelieved pressure on the skin. When a person remains in the same position for too long, oxygen can’t get to the skin, and the skin dies. Nursing home residents who are unable to move independently in bed or who use wheelchairs are more likely to suffer from bedsores than the general population.

How Bedsores Become Sepsis

When bedsores are undetected or untreated, they can progress, and dangerous infections can develop. As the bedsore progresses, it becomes an open wound, and bacteria can enter the body. The bacteria can cause an infection that spreads throughout the body and turns into sepsis.

Nursing Home Negligence Can Cause Bedsores to Become Sepsis

Nursing homes have a duty to provide reasonable care to all residents. Reasonable care includes taking steps to prevent bedsores and sepsis. While not all bedsores and sepsis infections are caused by nursing home negligence, a nursing home may be negligent for a bedsore or sepsis illness if the nursing home failed to:

  • Evaluate the resident’s likelihood of getting a bedsore. Nursing home staff can use tools such as the Norton Scale, the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk, and other instruments to predict a resident’s likelihood of developing a bedsore. If the assessment indicates that a resident is at risk for developing bedsores, then a plan should be developed to prevent bedsores.
  • Actively prevent bedsores. Some bedsores can be avoided if a resident’s skin is kept dry and clean, and if the resident’s position is regularly changed to avoid pressure on one or more parts of the body.
  • Check the resident for bedsores. In addition to taking action to prevent bedsores from occurring, nursing home staff should regularly check residents for pressure sores. Bedsore checks should happen more often if a nursing home resident complains of pain or discomfort or if the resident’s evaluation indicates a significant risk of developing a bedsore.
  • Recognize bedsore symptoms. Bedsore checks are only effective if nursing home staff recognize bedsore symptoms. A nursing home resident may have a bedsore if her skin changes color or has a different texture, if the area of skin is tender or painful, if the area is swollen, or if there is pus draining from the bedsore site.
  • Get the resident bedsore treatment. Bedsores require treatment, which may include medications, wound cleaning, and surgery.
  • Recognize sepsis symptoms. An infected bedsore may cause sepsis. Symptoms of sepsis include fever or low body temperature, rapid heartbeat, rapid respiration rate, breathing problems, stomach pain, decreased urine output, changes in mental state, and dangerous drops in blood pressure. These symptoms are medical emergencies and require nursing homes to take immediate action.
  • Get the resident sepsis treatment. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires hospitalizations, careful monitoring, and medications. Nursing homes have a duty to transfer residents to the hospital when they see signs of sepsis so that residents can get the necessary medical treatment.

Did Nursing Home Negligence Hurt Your Loved One?

Now is the time to take action. If your loved one survived sepsis, she might be able to recover legal damages for medical expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages. If your loved one died from sepsis, her estate may be able to recover for all of the damages she would have recovered as well as funeral costs, and her loved ones may recover financial compensation for their loss.

Your time to pursue a nursing home injury or wrongful death case is, however, limited by Kentucky law. We encourage you to learn more about your family’s rights by downloading a free copy of our book, Fighting Back Against Nursing Home Abuse: What Families Need to Know to Help Their Loved One, and contacting us any time—24/7/365—to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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