Society’s most vulnerable demographics are the ones we must work hardest to protect. At Franco Law Firm, we specialize in personal injury law. This type of law includes a wide array of court cases, from dog bites to bedsores. Let’s discuss the latter. It is almost always a last resort when placing a loved one in an elderly care facility. Stress around this decision is common because you are no longer directly involved with your loved one’s physical and mental health care. It can be sad, but often your loved one needs specialized care, which is best left in expert hands. Stress can be alleviated when we trust elderly care experts to do their job.
What happens when they don’t? Elderly abuse is horrible, but it is a reality that some of us must confront. So, what are the consequences for people who are neglectful in the field of elderly care? The short answer is legal action. If it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that proper care was not provided and that lack of care led to injury, you or your loved one are entitled to compensation.
Neglect vs. Negligence
When a caretaker does not properly perform their duties to keep others from harm, this is negligence. Neglect occurs when a person is careless or willfully fails to keep another person safe. Simply said, negligence is potentially accidental or unintentional, whereas neglect is more deliberate.
Bedsores or fractures and broken bones that happen in an elderly facility are not always a case of negligence or neglect. Injuries do happen to millions of adults above the age of 65 each year, and not all of them can be prevented. The CDC estimates that as many as 1 in 5 falls can cause severe injuries like broken bones.
Neglect and negligence can lead to bedsores and fractures. If the injury itself came from careless or willful failure to keep your loved one safe, lawsuits could be brought against the care facility. The experts at Franco Law Firm can help you determine the need to build and file a claim.
Some bedsores are challenging to avoid. Incontinence, which is common in the elderly community, can cause bedsores. Wet skin is more delicate than dry skin, meaning even infrequent friction could cause a Stage I bedsore. However, not all bedsores are created equal. Bedsores have four classifications of severity, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Justice:
- Stage I: redness without breaks to the skin. These will heal within days once the pressure is removed.
- Stage II: the CDC finds these are the most commonly documented types of bedsores in nursing home facilities. These consist of shallow craters, minor abrasions, or blisters—the timeline for healing averages at six weeks.
- Stage III: the skin will appear to have deep craters in the tissue and tissue loss. It can take more than six months to heal from this type of bedsore. This category of bedsores is incredibly painful.
- Stage IV: when a bedsore is classified as the fourth stage, amputation or deadly infections become possible. The damage would go down to the bone. Stage IV bedsores cause damage to muscles, joints, and organs, including and especially the skin.
Depending on the stage and whether or not the bedsores have a repetitive nature, you may be able to pursue legal action against the responsible party. Facilities are responsible for frequent changes to the position of a patient’s body. Before a bedsore reaches a Stage IV diagnosis, there are plenty of opportunities to diminish the impact of that injury, including topical and internal medicines, alleviation of bodily pressure, and fluid therapy.
If a nursing home did not take these actionable steps, you might be awarded monetary compensation against responsible parties.
Broken or Fractured Bones
A lot more than sticks and stones can break your bones, and even gravity can break them as we age. Here are some of the most frequent fractures and breaks that happen in a nursing home facility:
- Stress fractures: small cracks in the bones, leading to pain, swelling, and further breaks when not appropriately treated.
- Compression fractures: also known as spontaneous fractures, these fractures can occur suddenly and without explanation. These fractures can cause terrible pain and, left untreated, can require surgical intervention.
- Traumatic fractures: often result from accidents and falls. Untrained staff mishandling residents from transfers to and from wheelchairs is the most frequent cause of traumatic fractures. These fractures are often preventable and come from neglect and abuse.
Broken bones are serious, and for the elderly, they can be especially life-threatening. The American Medical Association Journal published a startling statistic that more than 50% of nursing home patients who had independent mobility before a hip fracture will die or lose all mobility independence within 180 days of their fracture.
It is incredibly difficult for our bodies to heal from serious injury after a certain age. This is why it is imperative to take preventative actions to avoid and minimize that potential reality. Have you found yourself disturbed by observations about a facility’s appearance, the care management you witness during visitation, a decrease in overall weight, hygiene, lack of energy, or worsening medical conditions? You may be able to take necessary legal action against a nursing home. Manuel Franco and the team at the Franco Law Firm can help you seek justice for the neglect your loved one has experienced. We have served the community of Tampa Bay for years with an impressive track record of victories. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule a free consultation with us. Call (813) 872-0929. We look forward to hearing from you.