Do Bedsores in Nursing Homes Equate Abuse?

By Peter DePaolis

Our Washington, D.C. Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Uphold The Rights Of Your Loved Ones


lying in a hospital bed in a nursing homeBed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, are regions of skin damaged by unalleviated pressure. Bed sores are most common in areas where bones are closest to the skin, such as the back, elbows, heels, and hips. Our Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse attorneys caution that although bedsores can be noticeable exterior wounds, much of the damage is typically located beneath the skin.

Individuals who remain in the same position for an extended period, such as bedridden nursing home residents, are at the greatest risk for bed sores. However, bedsores are entirely preventable, and pressure ulcers found on nursing home residents can indicate that your loved one may be the victim of nursing home neglect and abuse.

How Do I Know If My Loved One Is Suffering from Bed Sores?

Nursing homes have a duty to take all the necessary preventative measures to protect their residents from bedsores, as well as have a care plan in case any signs of bed sores begin to develop. It is important to be aware of the early signs that pressure ulcers may be present, which can include:

  • Painful skin, even if no tears are apparent
  • Reddened or off-colored skin that does not briefly lose color when pressure is applied and then released
  • Differently textured skin regions, which may feel either firm or spongy and often warmer or cooler than the surrounding tissue
  • Open sores or wounds
  • Signs of infection: redness and swelling around the area, fever

Steps Nursing Homes Must Take to Help Prevent Bed Sores

The ideal cure for bed sores is prevention, and avoiding bed sores simply involves changing positions. Some individuals may have difficulty or are unable to do this unassisted, so the responsibility to prevent these ulcers may rest on a caregiver. Some preventative measures nursing home staff must practice include:

  • Repositioning an individual in a bed every two hours
  • Using cushions or proper positioning for bony areas prone to bedsores
  • Cleaning skin and keeping it dry
  • Helping individuals maintain a proper diet and stay adequately hydrated
  • Keeping the patient active if possible

If you discover bed sores on a loved one who is currently in a nursing home, this is a sign that they may be experiencing nursing home abuse or negligence. You must act immediately to ensure the situation does not worsen. Consider removing your loved one from the nursing home, and arranging for them to receive the appropriate medical attention to prevent further damage to their health.

Our Firm Fights to Ensure Your Loved One Receives the Respect They Deserve

It is the responsibility of a nursing home to provide the best care for our elderly family members. When they fail in the duty, it is your legal right to hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm caused to you or your loved ones. To discuss your ability to seek compensation for medical expenses and other damages, contact the Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.