Virginia Nursing Home Bedsore Warning Signs

Most elderly or disabled Americans are placed in nursing facilities when they or their families can no longer provide the physical or medical care that they require. Families place their trust in nursing home staff to provide for the needs of their loved one.

For residents who have a difficult time with mobility, either spending excessive amounts of time in bed or in a wheelchair, turning and frequent repositioning is imperative to their skin and overall health. When residents are left in a position, the risk of a bedsore increases significantly. All family members and nursing home residents should be aware of Virginia nursing home bedsore warning signs.

Bedsores are excruciatingly painful, can lead to other serious medical conditions, and are very expensive to treat. In some patients, bedsores can lead to death. If your loved one has a bedsore, legal help is available.

Nursing Home Resident Rights

Virginia Code § 32.1-138 details the rights and responsibilities of residents in Virginia nursing homes. Resident rights include:

  • Being fully informed of their medical conditions
  • The opportunity to participate in the planning of their medical treatment
  • Being treated with consideration, respect, and dignity
  • Being free from mental and physical abuse

When nursing home staff refuses to or only partially performs steps to help in the prevention of bedsores, they are not providing residents with their state-given rights.

Bedsore Warning Signs to Look For

Family members and other visitors should pay attention to nursing home residents and their living conditions. The following are some nursing home bedsore warning signs in Virginia:

  • Infrequent repositioning which keeps pressure on bony prominences for long periods of time
  • Improper nutrition which can keep the body from healing properly or from properly circulating blood;
  • Sudden or prolonged periods of weight loss which can increase the risk of developing a bedsore
  • Periods of incontinence which can leave the skin dry and promotes bacterial growth which also increases the risk of bedsores
  • Increased or decreased skin moisture
  • Red skin areas on bony prominences which can be signs that a bedsore is beginning to develop

Liability for Bedsores in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes and their staff assume liability for residents in their care. They are responsible for doing all that they can to provide safe, high-quality care, and to prevent further deterioration of each resident’s health. This is their legal and ethical duty.

If they fail to provide care that prevents bedsores from developing, they have breached their duty. However, to pursue a lawsuit, the breach of duty must be the proximate cause of the bedsore, and the bedsore must have caused damages to the resident.

For example – nursing home staff forgets or refuses to reposition a resident every two hours and does not clean the resident as soon as possible when their skin becomes wet. If no harm comes of this, there are no grounds for a civil lawsuit, but if a resident develops a bedsore as a result of this negligent treatment, and that increases their medical costs and causes them pain and suffering, a valid civil claim exists.

Act When You See Nursing Home Bedsore Warning Signs

If you do not act promptly when you see Virginia nursing home bedsore warning signs, bedsores may get worse and more could develop. An experienced bedsore attorney may be able to help you, and your elderly loved one pay for medical bills and receive compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured. Call today to learn more about the legal help available to you.