Nursing home staff members do not always provide the level of medical care needed to properly treat wounds or injuries in the elderly. As a result, many nursing home residents suffer from festering, chronic wounds, which are often exacerbated by issues like malnourishment, dehydration, medication errors, or unsanitary living conditions. Without proper care, a senior’s chronic injury can become severely infected, necessitating amputation, leading to disability, or even causing wrongful death.
If one of your elderly family members developed bed sores (pressure ulcers), infections, nerve damage, mobility problems, or other complications due to mismanagement of an injury at a nursing home or assisted living facility, financial compensation may be available. To talk confidentially about filing a claim or lawsuit for nursing home malpractice, call Wieand Law Firm LLC for a free legal consultation with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer.
Nursing Home Wound Management
Seniors have a more difficult time healing from wounds than young or middle-aged individuals due to the physiological effects of aging. For example, elderly individuals have thinner, more delicate skin, which means special precautions are needed when caring for sores, lacerations, or puncture wounds. For instance, the wound may require debridement, radiant heat bandaging, or topical antiseptics, and must be vigilantly monitored.
Many nursing home residents also have compromised immune systems due to conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes, which can make self-care physically difficult while simultaneously taxing the body’s resources. In other cases, a severe cognitive impairment like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease makes it impossible for an elderly person to successfully manage his or her own treatment. Therefore, residents rely on staff members to provide the treatment that they themselves cannot.
Nursing home staff members are supposed to possess the equipment, training, and medical knowledge that will enable them to effectively manage wounds and injuries in their patients. However, the reality is often very different. In countless nursing homes across the U.S., problems like under-staffing, inadequate training, and lack of supervision lead to the neglect of patients. In other instances, staff members intentionally abuse vulnerable, defenseless residents by deliberately withholding critical care.
Pressure Wounds in the Elderly
Wound Infection in the Elderly
Even a seemingly minor injury, such as a small cut or scrape, can escalate into a medical emergency if the wound is permitted through negligent care to become infected by bacteria. For example, bacteria can enter an open wound through dirty linens, or through unsanitary bathrooms, kitchens, or common areas that have not been properly cleaned and disinfected. Even in the absence of an open sore or injury, bacteria can still enter and infect the body through improperly sterilized medical equipment, such as a catheter, feeding tube, or IV line.
Without swift and thoughtful management, an infection can rapidly progress into a life-threatening crisis, such as sepsis progressing into severe sepsis and eventually septic shock. While this is true for any patient, the risk is especially great for seniors, who are more susceptible to – and less able to recover from – infections than younger individuals.
Common examples of wounds that can become infected in dirty or unsanitary nursing home settings include:
- Amputation Sites
- Arterial Ulcers
- Burn Injuries
- Cuts and Lacerations
- Diabetic Ulcers
- Fall Injuries
- Pressure Ulcers
- Scald Injuries
- Surgical Wounds
- Venous Ulcers (Stasis Ulcers)
According to a study published in Aging Health in 2012, some common infections in nursing homes, and complications that can result, include:
- Clostridium difficile Infections (C. Diff. Colitis)
- Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTIs)
- MRSA Infections
- Necrotizing Fasciitis
- Osteomyelitis (Bone Infection)
- Pneumonia (Lung Infection)
- Skin Infections (Cellulitis, Erysipelas, Scabies, Tinea Versicolor)
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Nursing Home Neglect Attorney for Improper Wound Care Lawsuit
Improper wound care can cause a treatable skin breakdown to spiral into a debilitating or even fatal injury. If an elderly family member or loved one was killed, or became seriously ill or disabled, due to the mismanagement of an injury or chronic wound, the nursing home or assisted living facility may be liable for the resulting medical bills, funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, and other damages.
With extensive experience representing nursing home residents in lawsuits and settlement negotiations, the nursing home abuse attorneys of Wieand Law Firm LLC can work to maximize the value of your claim or case and hold the negligent parties accountable. To set up a free and completely confidential consultation regarding a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact Wieand Law Firm LLC.