Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are an all too common occurrence in extended care facilities and nursing homes in New Jersey. The wounds happen due to prolonged pressure on the skin, affecting people who spend most of their time in a chair or bed and have a limited range of motion.

Bedsores can develop quickly once the blood supply to the skin is stopped for more than two hours and untreated wounds can extend into the surrounding muscle and bone, especially in the buttocks, tailbone and hips, the back of the head, the heels of the feet, shoulder blades and the backs and sides of knees.

Complications from bedsores can be devastating

Taking immediate action is vital as pressure ulcers can develop into life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis, bone infections or osteomyelitis. They are categorized from least to most severe:

  • Stage 1: The patient may complain that the area hurts, itches or burns as the wound is red and warm to the touch and may have a blue or purple tint.
  • Stage 2: The patient often complains of significant pain as the area around the wound is discolored and shows more damage, such as scrapes, blisters or open sores.
  • Stage 3: The damage now extends below the skin’s surface, and the wound appears as a crater surrounding the area.
  • Stage 4: A large deep wound is present as the area is severely damaged and can affect muscles, tendons, bones and joints. Infection becomes a serious risk at this point.

Bedsores typically result from negligence

Nursing home or extended care residents should never develop significant bedsores with proper care from nursing staff and supervision by doctors. Unfortunately, too many of these facilities cut operating costs and have low staffing levels.

Many staff members also consider turning and cleaning patients as unpleasant tasks. Unless they are properly supervised, they often ignore best practices for patient care, and some make false record entries claiming the duties were accomplished.

Take immediate action when pressure ulcers develop

Once bedsores are present, the patient or family members should take photos of the affected area and demand that the nursing home take pictures as well, so there is a record. Many skilled nursing centers are reluctant to document these injuries to avoid being held accountable.

If the nursing home or extended care facility fails to take immediate steps to treat the wound, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can take action, including filing a lawsuit to teach the owners a lesson, so this negligence is less likely to happen to someone else.