Assessing Bedsores in Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Cases

A bedsore, often referred to as a pressure ulcer by medical professionals, is a sore that forms when the skin is pressed against a surface for an extended period of time. Elderly, infirm, and immobile patients are at the greatest risk for bedsores, so nursing facilities and hospitals must be aware of the danger the sores pose.

Unfortunately, some medical facilities fail to take bedsores seriously despite knowing that they can result in serious medical complications, and in a minority of cases, death or amputation. These nursing facilities often place profit above patients, and they should be held liable in court if their patients develop bedsores resulting from neglect.

When assessing bedsores in Maryland nursing home abuse cases, doctors may take the following steps.

Evaluation From a Physician

More than likely, a physician will be responsible for assessing bedsores in Maryland nursing home abuse cases. A physician will closely and carefully examine the skin of a patient to determine if they have a sore and how extensive the damage is. The physician will place the bedsore in one of four stages so they can decide which method of treatment is most appropriate for the patient. A blood test may also be ordered to determine the general health of the patient.

To determine whether the sores on a patient are the result of abuse, a physician may ask questions such as:

  • When did the sore begin to appear?
  • Does the nursing home staff or caregiver regularly help the patient change positions?
  • If the sore was noticed by a staff member, how were they treated?
  • Has the patient suffered from bedsores in the past?
  • Describe the quality of care assistance the patient receives on a regular basis?

The physician may also ask questions pertaining to the diet of a patient and their other medical conditions. This can help them determine whether the bedsores are natural or caused by neglect

Bedsore Stages

As previously stated, bedsores are placed in one of four stages depending on their severity. Stage I is the mildest and Stage IV is the worst. They can be described as follows:

  • Stage I – During this stage, the skin is inflamed and exhibits a red color. The skin may be soft, painful, and warm to the touch. Stage I ulcers can be treated by washing the affected area with a saline solution and properly dressing the sore to keep out moisture and bacteria.
  • Stage II – The skin begins to turn red, form blisters, or break open. The area the sore is usually inflamed, painful, and warm.
  • Stage III – A sunken, open hole called a crater forms on the surface of the skin. The skin in this hole is usually damaged and the patient may be able to see layers of their body fat.
  • Stage IV – The bedsore is so severe, it has penetrated the deeper layers of tissue down to the bone, tendons, and joints. These sores are acutely painful and require extensive medical care.

If a sore is caught in its early stages, it can usually be treated fairly easily. However, if it is neglected and left to progress, it can cause additional medical problems, such as skin cancer, sepsis, arthritis, bone infection, and necrotizing fasciitis.

Begin Assessing Bedsores in Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Cases

If you or someone you care about developed bedsores while in the care of a skilled nursing facility, you may have a case. To determine if sores are the result of medical negligence, a doctor will often help by assessing bedsores in Maryland nursing home abuse cases.

If your sores are the result of negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call an attorney today if you believe you may have a case.