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Bedsores are Inexcusably Common among Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Some nursing home abuse conditions could be easily resolved to improve the quality of life for elders nationwide. A recent article by the New York World stressed the necessity of reducing bed sore problems in nursing homes. Our experienced nursing home lawyers agree that bedsores are simply unacceptable. New York City appears to have a particularly egregious problem with bedsores.

According to the New York World article, the rate of bedsores in NYC facilities is almost 50 percent above the national average! Even after six years of a ‘War on the Sore’ campaign, and $800,000 of federal funding earmarked to resolve the problem, NY homes are still struggling to fix the issue. More horrifying than the rate of sores in NY is the fact that NY is only 44th in bedsore statistics nationwide. This means that there are some states where even more residents suffer from this awful injury.

A bedsore, also known as a pressure sore, can develop easily on patients who have a difficult time being mobile. Sores develop over time when patients are not physically adjusted often enough to redistribute their weight. If left untreated the sores can become bone deep. Once a sore develops, treatment times can be agonizingly long.

Along with statistics about pressure sores, the New York World also reported on specific cases of sores at New York facilities. Of the homes that received money to reduce the prevalence of sores, some improved while others stayed the same. The $800,000 stimulus was aimed at giving nursing homes the financial ability to provide preventive care for bedsores.

Shockingly, for some homes despite the influx of money, reports show that the number of pressure sores increased. At one home, pressure sores climbed in frequency by 22 %. It is hard to imagine that this home followed the suggested steps to reduce the sores. Inspections revealed lousy care practices at the facility.

One of the most glaring examples resulted from total carelessness. A doctor had warned caretakers that a knee brace may cause a sore if not monitored closely. As predicted, after a month of no monitoring or documentation, the patient wearing a knee brace did in fact develop a sizeable sore. Furthermore, patients with pre-existing sores did not receive any pain medications to comfort them during the healing process.

Measures to decrease the number of bedsores are centered on careful and thorough daily documentation of each patient’s condition. Although some homes failed to improve, others demonstrated that the measures can be extremely effective. One particular home reduced the rate of bedsores by 56% just by monitoring patient’s physical health and behavior more closely. At that home, the rate of bedsores per patient