If an older family member in a nursing home has one or numerous bedsores, it is natural to be concerned. You want your loved one to receive the best care possible, making any negligence on the staff’s part unacceptable. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence and abuse are common.
Consulting with a West Memphis personal injury lawyer is one of your best next steps after ensuring your loved one receives the care they require. Anger and disbelief are common reactions to nursing home negligence, however, taking legal action is the right thing to do, as it will hopefully prevent other residents at the home in question from experiencing poor care or abuse. Call Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, today.
Bedsores and Their Impact on Your Family
Also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers, bedsores refer to skin and underlying tissue harm. These sores appear when someone stays in bed for a lengthy period, though they can also develop in individuals who rely on wheelchairs. The constant pressure allows the sores to develop.
Common bedsore symptoms include swelling, pus-like drainage from the wound, unusual skin texture or color changes, tender skin, and areas that feel cooler or warmer than other skin. Typical bedsore sites include:
- Shoulder blades
- Buttocks or tailbones
- Back of the arms or legs
- Back or sides of the head
- Lower back
- Heels and ankles
Bedsores can become infected, with infection symptoms including drainage, a fever, swelling, foul odors, and skin color changes. Even if the sores do not become infected, they are generally painful. In addition to immobility, bedsore risk factors include poor nutrition and hydration that affects overall skin health, incontinence that exposes skin to liquid and solid waste, diabetes and other circulatory conditions that impact blood flow, and spinal cord injuries and sensory abilities.
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Why Bedsores Develop on Nursing Home Residents
Negligence is the main reason for nursing home bedsores. A resident might be left in bed or a wheelchair for too long, resulting in sore development. This can be due to understaffing or the staff member assigned to the resident who does not care about their job.
Sadly, there are also times when bed sores develop as part of nursing home abuse. Staff members may abuse residents because of deep-seated emotional and mental issues or because they are trying to steal from said residents. Staff might refuse care until residents sign over their bank accounts and other funds.
Signs of nursing home abuse in residents include, but are unfortunately not limited to:
- Personality or mood changes
- Fear around certain staff members
- Broken and fractured bones
- Scrapes, welts, and bruises
- Social withdrawal
- Broken eyeglasses and other damaged possessions
- Blood on clothing or linens
- Medication or food refusals
- Loss of self-confidence
- Repetitive actions, such as mumbling, tapping on tables, rocking back and forth, and sucking on the hands
- Poor personal hygiene
- Messy and unsanitary living quarters
- Sudden, unexplained financial changes
Noticing these or other disturbing signs of abuse calls for contacting a nursing home bedsore lawyer in West Memphis, TN, immediately.
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Reporting Nursing Home Bedsores and Other Abuse and Claiming Damages
In addition to working with a nursing home bedsore attorney in West Memphis, TN, it is important to report the abuse to the correct authorities. An official complaint strengthens the personal injury claim because it documents the abuse and includes specific details. In addition to filing an elder abuse complaint with the Tennessee Commission on Aging & Disability, family members can file reports with the local police and social services branch.
It is possible to claim several economic and non-economic damages relating to nursing home bedsores and other abuse. The family of the abused individual can ask for economic damages, such as medical costs that cover bedsore treatments, which might involve hospitalization for the removal of dead skin, infections, and skin grafts. Other bedsore medical costs can include negative pressure wound therapy and medication to treat and prevent infections.
Economic damages can also include transportation costs and time off work from family members taking their loved ones for treatment.
Non-economic damages typically include pain and suffering from the physical, emotional, and mental anguish the bedsores have caused the older loved one. Family members can seek emotional and mental distress damages as well. It is also possible to claim punitive damages if the defendant’s abuse records are significant.
Such damages are designed to punish the defendant for wrongdoing and prevent further harm to others.
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Filing a Personal Injury Claim for Nursing Home Bedsore Abuse
To file a personal injury claim with a nursing home bedsore lawyer in West Memphis, TN, the family of the older loved one must first seek medical care for the sores and obtain copies of the hospital and doctor reports. Next, the family collects evidence showing how the bedsores have impacted the victims’ lives, including the aforementioned medical reports and any other relevant information, such as police and social services reports. The family speaks with a West Memphis nursing home bedsore attorney at this time, who orders an investigation that shows the validity of the claims and establishes negligence.
After the legal professional files the claim on behalf of the older loved one and their family that includes their demands, there are settlement talks. The case goes to trial if an agreement cannot be reached between the defendant and the plaintiff. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court to mitigate defendant reputation damage.
However, nursing home abuse cases typically involve the offending party or parties getting fired. Depending on the extent of the abuse throughout the facility, the state might shut it down.
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Contact a West Memphis Nursing Home Bedsore Lawyer Today
The West Memphis nursing home bedsore lawyer at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, is here to help your family navigate this challenging time. The renowned law firm has helped over 35,000 clients win compensation for their injuries over the past 40 years and continues to provide unparalleled services. Call our office today to schedule a free initial consultation.