Bed sores serious risk, sign of neglect in nursing homes

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is something that is often stressful and difficult for Pennsylvania residents. Family members must first come to grips with the reality that the care a loved one requires is beyond their capabilities. Then they must decide which facility would best suit their needs. Because the elderly can be targets for neglect, which could create dangerous bed sores that could have serious consequences, the decision is that much more agonizing. Some states have recently reported on the most common medical issues associated with medical care, likely giving the family members of loved ones even more to consider.

In the study, there were several medical errors reported. The error most commonly reported was serious bed sores, sometimes also known as pressure ulcers. Other issues were related to stitching objects into a patient during surgery and, another potential major issue for nursing home patients, injuries resulting from falls.

In addition to these issues, drug errors were also an issue. For example, reports indicate that seven people died as a result of receiving a steroid injection that had been contaminated with meningitis. The medicine was received as part of treatment for back pain.

Although any type of incident such as these is tragic, those in Pennsylvania do have options if they feel their loved one in a nursing home is the victim of neglect. For example, while some patients tend to be more prone to bed sores and pressure ulcers due to certain conditions, they are often a sign of neglect. Even for those prone to bed sores, early intervention can prevent tragic complications. If neglect is suspected, a civil case may be appropriate. If the neglect can be proved, the patient or family members could receive damages as a result.

Source: Princeton Daily Clarion, Sores, surgery errors top 2012 medical errors, No author, Sept. 17, 2013

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