Without a doubt, staffing is the number one predictor of the the type of care patients in nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living facilities will receive. High-tech medical equipment and expansive medical facilities mean nothing without a team of properly trained personnel to tend to patient needs.
Under-staffing blamed for the lack of care
In this sense, the son of a deceased nursing home patient blames ‘under-staffing’ as the reason why his mother fell and subsequently developed pressure ulcers at the facility. As the special administrator of his mother’s estate, Gary Brown filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against a county operated nursing home in Nebraska alleging that his mother’s injuries and death could have been prevented had the facility had adequate staff.
A parade of errors
As is frequently the case in with injuries occurring in the nursing home setting– one error leads to the development of another. In the case of this lawsuit, it is alleged that after the facility failure to supervise the woman resulted in a fall and hip fracture. After the hip was surgically repaired, the facility failed to acknowledge the fact that the woman’s immobility that accompanied put her at risk for developing pressure ulcers (also referred to as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers or bed sores) during her recovery at the facility.
The facilities negligence continued even after the pressure ulcers developed as the pressure ulcers advanced and became infected. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the the facility failed to notify the woman’s son or personal physician of her pressure ulcers. Finally, Mr. Brown claims that the pressure sores contributed to his mother’s death.
Read more about this nursing home negligence lawsuit involving the development of pressure ulcers here.
Nursing Homes Obligation To Prevent & Treat Pressure Ulcers
Every patient coming into a nursing home must be assessed to determine their risk for developing pressure ulcer and a care plan must be developed to meet the patients needs. When facilities are inadequately staffed or staff never receives proper training, many of the preventative measures set forth in a care plan never get done and patient injury frequently ensues.
Pressure ulcers are a known problem facing patients in nursing homes and hospitals with limited mobility. Pressure ulcers may develop when patients are left in one position for extended periods of time. Patients who remain in one position for extended periods are at risk for developing pressure ulcers as limited blood flow to the area results in the gradual decay of tissue.
Consequently, many nursing home patients need to be ‘turned’ on a regular basis. Many facilities have charts to help staff keep track of the re-positioning schedule for each resident.
In order to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers, nursing home residents should be:
- Kept clean and dry, particularly those patients who may be incontinent
- Moisturized daily
- Washed regularly with mild soap and water
- Changed positions on a regular basis to chances of unrelieved pressure
- Kept well fed and hydrated
- Kept the bed elevation as low as possible- this reduces pressure on the sacrum and buttocks– areas where pressure ulcers frequently develop