Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are not uncommon in nursing homes. However, that does not mean that they are also inevitable. Many bedsores can be prevented with reasonable care by nursing home staff and that care may begin with a bedsore assessment to determine if a patient is at risk of developing bedsores and develop a treatment plan if necessary.

The Norton Scale Is One Bedsore Assessment Tool

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Norton Scale was developed in the 1960s and is used to assess an adult’s risk of developing a pressure ulcer. The person conducting the assessment must assess five categories and assign a number of 1-4 for each category. The categories include:

  • Physical condition. A person who is in good condition gets a four, a person in fair condition gets a three, a person in poor condition gets a two, and a person in very bad condition gets a one.
  • Mental condition. A person who is alert gets a four, a person who is found to be apathetic gets a three, a person who is confused gets a two, and a person who is in a stupor gets a one.
  • Activity. A person who is ambulatory gets a four, a person who can work with help gets a three, a person who is chair bound gets a two, and a person in a stupor gets a one.
  • Mobility. A person with full mobility gets a four, a person with slightly limited mobility gets a three, a person who has very limited mobility gets a two, and a person who is immobile gets a one.
  • Incontinence. A person who is not incontinent gets a four, a person who is occasionally incontinent gets a three, a person who is usually incontinent gets a two, and a person who is doubly incontinent gets a one.


The lower a person’s score, the greater risk that person has of developing a bedsore. Generally, people who score 14 or less are considered to be at risk.

What if the Norton Scale Wasn’t Completed and Your Loved One Died?

The absence of a completed Norton scale does not mean that the nursing home was negligent. However, it may be used as evidence that the nursing home staff failed to act with reasonable care toward your loved one. Thus, it is important to consider whether another bedsore assessment was completed and whether reasonable measures were taken to keep your loved one safe. To learn more, please read our related articles on this website and browse our free videos.

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.

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