Federal Law Protects Nursing Home Residents from Bed Sores

Pressure sores or ulcers, which are commonly referred to as bed sores, are probably among themost common sort of potential new injury incurred by nursing home patients who are incapable of moving about freely. While they can be annoying or painful, they can also become infected and lead to a vast array of additional complications for nursing home residents. Perhaps most importantly, they can be prevented.

It’s for this reason that federal law makers have passed regulations for nursing home facilities which address this problematic complication.

42 CFR § 483.20 entitled “Resident Assessment” requires a comprehensive assessment of the resident. While this blog post focuses on the skin care assessment and bed sore prevention, the facility is required to assess 17 other factors, all related to the patient’s condition upon entering the facility. The facility has 14 days from the person’s arrival to complete this assessment, and it then has 7 days from the completion of the assessment to develop a care plan addressing the patient’s various needs.

42 CFR § 483.25 Quality of Care, explicitly addresses what must be done in regards to bed sores specifically. It states that based upon the comprehensive assessment, the facility must ensure that:

  • A resident who enters the facility without bed sores does not develop them (unless the person’s individual medical condition makes them unavoidable); and
  • A resident who does have bed sores must receive proper treatment and/or services to promote the healing process, prevent infections from developing, and prevent new sores from happening.

In the course of developing a care plan, the facility must identify who will be responsible for addressing the patient’s various needs. This can include members from the nursing home staff, the resident’s family, and sometimes the resident him or herself. The care plan must set forth what sorts of specific preventative measures will be used and how often. For example, possible preventative measures include turning and re-positioning the resident at certain increments of time, the use of pressure relieving mattresses or other devices, heel boots, special nutritional supplements, and specialized skin care.

Through the use of this care plan, the skilled workers of the nursing care home or facility follow the terms in order to prevent the resident from developing the bed sores, or other conditions addressed within the document. Additionally, the requirements under the care plan and regulations require that changes in the resident’s skin condition, such as the development of new bed sores, be documented in the resident’s file as they arise.

When nursing homes are negligent in addressing the various care needs outlined above, and a patient subsequently develops a bed sore during their stay, the patient, or the patient’s family on his/her behalf, may be able to pursue a nursing home negligence or abuse lawsuit for ensuing damages. Nursing home residents can be increasingly dependent on other people to take care of them, and when these people fail to do their job, they should be held accountable.

The nursing home lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen work dilliigently to help residents and their families in Maryland obtain compensation for injuries that are caused by abuse or neglect. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact us today either through our website, or by calling us at (800) 654-1949.

More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Closes Amid Allegations of Abuse, Neglect, and Other Deficiencies, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published February 12, 2013
Nursing Home Employee Charged with Abuse of Patient, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published January 25, 2013
Fourth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of False Claims Act Lawsuit Alleging Nursing Home Medicaid Fraud: United States ex. rel. Black v. Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published December 4, 2012

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