Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers

South Carolina Bed Sore Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers

Charleston, South Carolina Elder Care Lawyers for Abuse and Neglect

According to U.S. News & World Report, South Carolina is a popular place to retire. For retirement, the top five cities in South Carolina are Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach. As the population of retirees ages, the need for assistance and skilled nursing care becomes critical. According to recent data, there are nearly 1.3 million nursing home residents in the United States, with over 16,000 in South Carolina.

While most nursing homes strive to employ caring and experienced staff, there are times when neglect, abuse, and mishandling of seniors occur. Neglect and abuse can result from staff shortages, management oversight, lack of training, and lack of a thorough background check. One of the most common signs of neglect in nursing homes is bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers.

At the Steinberg Law Firm, our dedicated South Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers help seniors and their families hold negligent and abusive facilities accountable for residents’ injuries. We have over 95 years of experience pursuing compensation for elderly injury victims in Charleston and surrounding areas.

What Are Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers?

Nursing home staff members hold the responsibility of ensuring that immobilized residents do not remain in the same position for an extended amount of time. Bedsores are pressure ulcers that develop when a person is bedridden or is unable to move and is reliant on others to shift their position.

When a resident experiences restricted blood flow for more than two to three hours, their skin will initially turn red and then develop into a deep purple. Bedsores form in areas where a person’s body comes into contact with a bed or chair. Common places for pressure ulcers to form include:

  • Back and sides of the knees;
  • Back of the head;
  • Buttocks;
  • Hips and tailbone;
  • Heels of the feet; and
  • Shoulder blades.

While bedsores are painful and easy to recognize, nursing home assistants can overlook checking for bedsores on a resident’s body. Unfortunately, many elderly nursing home residents cannot advocate for themselves or if they do, they may be disregarded by nursing home staff or misunderstood.

How to Identify Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers?

Assisted living and nursing home workers are responsible for caring for their residents. Bedsores that are unnoticed or ignored can become very serious and even life-threatening.

Medical experts classify bedsores into four categories based on severity:

Stage 1: The affected area is red and warm when touched. Often, a senior resident may notice burning, itching, or pain in the area.

Stage 2: The affected area shows visible signs of damage, such as a blister or sore. The skin around the affected area may become discolored, and the resident may experience significant pain.

Stage 3: The affected area has a crater-like appearance, as the effects of the bedsore reach beyond the superficial layer of skin.

Stage 4: The affected area resembles a large wound that may extend to nearby muscles, joints, or tendons. The patient is at significant risk for infection.

Depending on the severity of a pressure ulcer, doctors typically clean the affected area, remove any dead skin, and then cover the wound. In some cases, a doctor may recommend antibiotics to protect against infection. It is also crucial for anyone suffering from bedsores to keep pressure off the affected area and maintain a healthy diet.

Preventing Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores

Bedsores and pressure ulcers are avoidable. Nursing home staff must regularly reposition residents at least every two hours. When positioning a resident, staff members must pay special attention to any body area that frequently comes into direct contact with the bed.

Additionally, nursing home or assisted living residents should spend adequate time every day in an upright position, in a wheelchair if necessary. However, staff must remain vigilant to ensure that those areas prone to bedsores are not bearing the brunt of the resident’s weight when seated in a wheelchair.

Staff members must also take precautions when bathing residents. It’s essential to ensure residents are completely dry before getting into bed, as any residual moisture on the body can expedite the degradation of the skin.

Can a Nursing Home Be Financially Responsible for Injuries Related to Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers?

When a nursing home accepts a resident into its care, it assumes a legal responsibility to provide a certain level of care. Many nursing homes had difficulty hiring and maintaining enough staff prior to COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the staffing shortage has only become worse. Regardless, nursing home management must ensure adequate staffing levels.

If a nursing home resident develops bedsores or pressure ulcers, it does not necessarily mean that the facility was negligent. However, that is a genuine possibility. Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring adequate staff coverage to fulfill residents’ needs. When nursing home management prioritizes reducing costs over resident safety, they can be liable through a nursing home neglect lawsuit.

A nursing home neglect lawsuit is a personal injury claim. A nursing home resident (or their family member) pursues a civil suit against the facility for injuries caused to the resident. To succeed in a nursing home neglect lawsuit, a resident must show that a staff member or the management team violated a duty of care owed to the resident, which caused their injuries.

Contact a South Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer at the Steinberg Law Firm to Schedule a Free Consultation

In the context of bedsores and pressure ulcers, there is no doubt that nursing homes owe residents a duty of care. Nursing homes often claim that they provided appropriate care and that the bedsores resulted from something unrelated to the facility’s negligence.

If you or a loved one recently developed bedsores or pressure ulcers in a South Carolina nursing home, this may be due to inadequate care. At the Steinberg Law Firm, our nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers work closely with residents and their families to help them pursue meaningful compensation for a resident’s injuries.

To learn more and schedule a free consultation with a South Carolina nursing home neglect lawyer, call the Steinberg Law Firm at (843) 720-2800. You can also contact us through our online contact form.

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