We have previously written about how nursing home patients can suffer from bed sores due to negligence of the nursing home.

In this blog post, we will look at situations involving hospital patients, as opposed to nursing home residents, who suffer from bed sores as a result of their hospital stay in Oklahoma.

Why the Hospital Setting is different from the Long-Term Health Care setting

Nursing Homes, or long-term care facilities, are exactly that: a place for a person to receive long-term care; a place intended for the patient to stay for a very long time, often for the remainder of his or her life.

People are admitted to nursing homes, not as patients, but as long-term residents. Generally, a nursing home resident needs care not for some immediate and acute injury, but for a chronic, long-term condition.

Therefore, nursing home residents are by the very nature of their situation, in a not-so-healthy state and need constant care for the things most of take for granted, activities of daily living (ADL).

Most people who are admitted to long-term care facilities have multiple disease diagnoses or co-morbidities. They have a lot going on. They don’t just have one thing, but usually they have multiple things that are affecting their health. This is why they are in need of long-term care and why they are admitted to the skilled nursing facility in the first place.

By contrast, a hospital is a different type of facility. A hospital is place for a temporary visit, to diagnose, treat, or cure an immediate problem. You may schedule a surgery at a hospital, weeks in advance. Or you may go to a hospital at the spur of a moment because of an emergency.

Bottom line: Oklahoma patients should not receive bed sores during their hospital stays.

Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcers are preventable, and should not develop if the proper care is rendered

It is well accepted in the medical community that hospital acquired pressure ulcers are preventable and therefore only caused as a result of negligent care. Sever pressure ulcers should never occur on patients that receive proper hospital care.

Proper preventative care includes, but is not limited to,

  • Regular and frequent skin assessments
  • Proper nutrition, fluids, and protein intake
  • Nutrition monitoring
  • Frequent turning and repositioning of the body
  • Use of special mattresses that circulate airflow and relieve pressure from the body
  • Proper interventions upon any detection of pressure ulcer development to prevent further worsening of the ulcer(s)

Stages III and IV pressure ulcers (PUs) that occur during hospitalization are among the conditions considered preventable by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

This means that the Government will not reimburse the hospital for the treatment to fix the pressure ulcers because CMS has taken the position that this is not a natural condition that occurred by happenstance, but in fact only occurs due to hospital negligence, and therefore the hospital should have to bear the expense of the pressure ulcer, since the hospital caused it.

What causes pressure ulcers to develop?

Pressure ulcers are caused by prolonged pressure to the skin, such as laying in the same position for an extended period of time. When a person is in a bed from surgery or a coma or for an extended stay, they may be at risk.

There are other factors, including the patient’s own comorbidities which can increase the risk of developing pressure ulcers. Other variables, such as parts of the body not exposed to air, under pressure, moist areas (between the groin, buttocks, etc), can pose a risk factor.

Not turning the body, not changing the linens or the patient’s underwear, are conditions that will create an environment that increases the chances of developing pressure ulcers.

How to prevent the occurrence of pressure ulcers during a Hospital Stay in Oklahoma

The first step is to assess the risk factor. The hospital must score and assess the patient’s condition on what is called a Braden Scale.

Every patient should be assessed for their risk level of pressure ulcers. If the hospital determines the person is at risk, then a plan must be implemented.

The next step is to develop a plan. The plan should involve frequent turning and re-positioning. It may also involve dietary interventions, such as increasing protein intake to give the body the nutrients to build and maintain strong, healthy the skin.

Next would be documenting all measures taken on a daily basis to prevent and avoid the development of the pressure ulcers.

To Adequately Treat and slow the spread of Pressure Ulcers, Hospitals must Monitor, Document, and Intervene

The best treatment is prevention. But once a bedsore is discovered, the hospital should immediately document the sore and then implement a plan to reduce the worsening of the sore and to reverse course and heal the skin.

Documentation at this point is critically important. The hospital must measure the size of the wound(s) and photograph them for record keeping purposes. Photos and measurements should be taken frequently to track the progress of the wound(s).

The hospital should have developed a plan at this point that could involve a variety of interventions, such as:

  • Frequent turning and repositioning every 2 hours
  • Frequent changing of sheets, linens, underwear
  • Frequently checking the skin for moisture, movement, friction, and sensory perception
  • Assessing the patient’s nutrition and diet, and correcting any deficiencies, such as lack of protein

The hospital should be constantly working through its plan and the pressure ulcer should not get worse, but should actually improve if the plan is being followed and adhered to by the hospital staff.

There are also surgical interventions, such as a skin flap procedure, to repair the wound. The wound can also be healed on its own by simply avoiding pressure, which is why turning and repositioning is so important.

Hospitals should put “turning clocks” in the patients room as a means of reminding and alerting all nurses of the two-hour turning frequency.

Why hospital-acquired pressure ulcers are reprehensible.

You should not receive bed sores from your hospital stay. The consensus is that hospital acquired pressure ulcers are avoidable if the correct precautions are taken. If the hospital was giving you proper care, then your body should not have reacted with a pressure ulcer, and definitely not a stage 3 or stage 4.

It is one thing to obtain a Stage 1 or 2 during a prolonged stay, but if proper monitoring is taking place, that level of sore can be healed and worsening can be prevented.

If a person receives a Stage 3 or Stage 4, there is very little acceptable reasons for this to occur and the hospital is likely at fault for allowing to sores to develop to this stage.

Oklahoma City Attorney can obtain compensation for Hospital-Acquired Pressure Ulcer

Travis Charles Smith is an experienced personal injury attorney in Oklahoma that handles medical negligence and hospital negligence claims.

To have your case reviewed by our office, call or text 405-724-8112 or send us an email.

We can conference with you by phone or video conference, but we most prefer in-person home visits or hospital visits when possible. Whatever the circumstances, we can accommodate your schedule and your preferences.

Once we have met and discussed your case, we will need to obtain your medical records and have those reviewed by one of our expert nurses or physicians. We will then schedule a follow-up with you to discuss our consulting expert’s findings.

From there, we will discuss possible litigation and obtaining compensation for your claims. To get started simply call or text 405-724-8112 or send us an email.