With an ever-growing population of elderly people in our society, it is important to ensure that they are properly taken care of in their twilight years. Though elderly people are often the most vulnerable, nursing home neglect takes place at an alarming rate. Some studies have shown that nearly 95 percent of nursing home residents have been neglected at least once during their stay. Unfortunately, only one out of every 14 abuse cases are reported. With this information in mind, it is important that you pay close attention to potential signs of nursing home neglect perpetrated against your loved ones. In many cases, nursing home residents suffer from mental or physical impairments that can make it difficult for them to speak up about the abuse that they are suffering from. In extreme cases, residents are afraid to report neglect for fear of retaliation by the nursing home staff or the belief that the neglect is normal. As your family member’s advocate, it is imperative that you take note of incidents of pressure ulcers/bedsores as they can be clear signs that your loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect. If you do suspect foul play or a lack of adequate attention given to your family member, you have options. Contact the attorneys at the Rooth Law Firm for your free consultation today.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Neglect

In some cases, the reason for nursing home neglect may be nefarious in nature. However, the overwhelming reasons behind nursing home neglect in the United States stem from inadequately staffed nursing homes or improperly trained staff. Neither reason is justifiable, as nursing home residents are guaranteed certain rights under the Nursing Home Reform Law which is a part of the Social Security Act of 1987. Even though residents are granted certain rights, nearly 90% of nursing homes in the U.S. are understaffed. Furthermore, 70% of assessments administered during the intake process miss one or more deficiencies within residents. These facts alone create a perfect storm for nursing home neglect which can lead to an increased risk of bedsores and pressure ulcers.

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Noticing Pressure Ulcers or Bedsores?

Bedsores, otherwise known as pressure ulcers, are typically caused by a resident’s lack of mobility. They are essentially damaged tissue just beneath the upper-epidermal layer of skin. Pressure ulcers are caused when a certain area of the body is under pressure for a prolonged amount of time. This typically happens when a patient at a nursing home is in their bed far too often, or not appropriately repositioned by the nursing home staff. If bedsores are not treated in a timely manner, they can cause serious long-term damage as well as discomfort. Those that cannot move or have severely limited mobility are most at risk of developing pressure ulcers/bedsores. These types of injuries typically happen in the following areas:

  • Seated or Lying Down For Prolonged Periods of Time: Bedsore often manifest around a resident’s hips, lower back, buttocks, or heels. This is typical of those that are bedridden and/or in a wheelchair. It is important that they are rotated and/or helped to get up (if possible) to relieve prolonged pressure.
  • Those in a Wheelchair: Residents that are confined to a wheelchair during the day, may show signs of pressure ulcers around their feet and ankles if their shoes are not removed or on their buttocks from the constant pressure of being seated in a wheelchair throughout the day.

When to Contact an Attorney

Bedsores can absolutely be prevented. They are not inevitable. While they can happen in some cases for reasons other than nursing home neglect, if you notice them occurring or not being properly treated, it may be time to seek legal help. Though we are in a technology-laden period of time where phone calls and video messages are easy to conduct, the only way to ensure that your loved one is being properly taken care of is to physically visit them. If you notice pressure ulcers, ask the nursing home staff about the reason for them. If their explanation is not satisfactory or they are occurring too often, remove your loved one from that situation as soon as you can, and contact an attorney that is experienced in pursuing damages for nursing home neglect. If you believe that your family member has been neglected in a nursing home, give the attorneys at The Rooth Law Firm a call to schedule your free consultation today.

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