As the baby boom generation ages, assisted living and long-term care facilities continue to be a growing profit center for the healthcare industry. The Commission on Affordable Housing and Health Care for Seniors in the 21st Century predicts that the United States population of senior citizens will double by the year 2030. Where assisted living and nursing home centers are concerned, crowded conditions, insufficient staffing, and the need to turn a profit can collide, resulting in medical malpractice or neglect.
Medical Negligence and Bed Sores
Bed sores are one of the most common and yet the most preventable conditions that afflict bed- or chair-bound patients. This condition is caused by the pressure of bedclothes and mattresses against fragile skin. Without frequent movement or turning to prevent tissue breakdown, sores can develop. If not properly treated, these sores can grow large and deep, becoming infected. It is not uncommon for a bed sore to cause further immobility, leading to a host of health complications for the patient.
Bed sores should never occur in a facility that is staffed with a sufficient number of properly trained employees. Because the condition is easily preventable, the loved ones of a patient suffering from bed sores may wish to pursue a claim of medical negligence. If the patient was treated at multiple facilities, it may be possible to take legal action against more than one of them, making it important to find exactly where the problem began.
Inadequate staffing levels, lack of appropriate medical supplies for treatment, and poor hygiene among employees and the patient population are important factors to be documented when considering a claim of this type. The level of documentation may help establish the level of claim, whether it is for the cost of treatment, compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages or a combination of varying damage types. Consulting with a medical malpractice attorney is advised at this stage in order to determine the authority of the claim.
Assisted living facilities are required to uphold minimum standards of care in order to avoid malpractice claims. In turn, facilities are protected by a statute of limitations for certain types of legal action. Because of this, a family whose loved one has contracted bed sores as a result of negligence should contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss options for filing a claim as soon as possible.