Bed Sore Claims & Pressure Sore Compensation
What are Bed Sores?
Pressure sores, commonly referred to as bed sores or pressure ulcers, are lesions or wounds that develop around prominent bony areas, including the hips, lower back (Sacrum) and tail bone (coccyx); although they can occur on the heels, back of the head, elbows and in other areas.
What Causes Bed Sores?
Bed sores develop where these bony areas remain under extended pressure; often when patients lie in the same position for long periods of time. During this time, the pressure partially, or completely, restricts blood flow which later results in tissue damage and cell death; resulting in open wounds that are prone to infection.
The likelihood of bed sore development is increased where the skin is exposed to unsanitary conditions, or where increased sweating occurs. Over very long periods, this cell death culminates into open wounds of varying seriousness; some of which can lead to the contraction of other illnesses and in some incidents, even death.
Why Should I Enquire If I Develop Pressure Sores?
It’s widely held that in 95% of cases, pressure sores can be avoided with proper medical care and monitoring. Bed sores are easily preventable and so there is little excuse if they are left to develop. According to NICE pressure ulcer guidelines, patients that are at risk should be turned regularly to prevent pressure sores from forming. Further care guidelines state that where pressure ulcers appear, they should be monitored closely, with thorough checks occurring at least once a week. By making a bed sore claim, we can acquire damages that will help cover the costs of future treatment.
How Widespread are Pressure Sores?
Unfortunately, bed sores and pressure ulcers are a growing problem. In 2010, 27,000 patients died, with evidence of bed sores; an increase of 50% on the previous decade – indicating a huge gap in patient care. Today, up to 20% of nursing home patients are thought to suffer from bed sores, whilst some 30% in the general community are also thought to be affected.
NHS and NICE guidelines are clear on the preventative treatments and methods for bed sores; so where bed sores appear, they ultimately demonstrate that those responsible for the patients care haven’t been paying them enough attention, essentially medical negligence. Unfortunately, if this is left unchallenged, treatment standards are unlikely to improve.
Who's Most at Risk?
Healthy people rarely experience serious pressure sores. When they become uncomfortable, they can move, restoring blood flow to previously obstructed areas.
Those that are confined to a bed, chair, or are unable to move without assistance, are at much greater risk. So anyone who is recovering from major surgery, anyone with a high BMI or those suffering from insensitivity or limited awareness, are more likely to develop pressure sores due to their inability to move, or their reduced capacity to recognise an arising problem.
Other factors can also increase the speed of onset, such as unsanitary conditions and sweating. So those patients that are incontinent should be monitored more closely.
Grading and Severity
As bed sores progress, they are graded on their severity. The grading begins at 1 which is the least severe, ranging to grade 4 which indicates a wound that has penetrated to the bone. Bed sores that are allowed to progress to this level rarely heal, and consequently, have dire ramifications on the patient’s quality of life.
Where a bed sore has been allowed to form, treatment will often consist of dead tissue removal and the control of infection. The tissues require vital nutrients, and so patient’s diets are often altered to include more of these to ensure an appropriate supply. Further precautions are taken to ensure that no further pressure is applied to the wound, often utilising special mattresses with better supportive capabilities.
Are There Complications?
As with any open wound, infection is an issue; in the case of bed sores, the complications can be increasingly severe as the wound penetrates the protective soft tissue. Sepsis is a problem, and in some cases gangrene and even renal failure can occur.
As pressure ulcers and bed sores are usually avoidable, you may be able to bring a successful bed sore claim. When assessing the extent of the damage, the financial repercussions, effect on living quality and overall suffering will be considered as part of your case so that our medical negligence solicitors can claim the pressure sore compensation that you rightly deserve.
What Do I Do next?
If you have been affected by bed sores or pressure sores, you should speak to an experienced medical negligence solicitor. They can provide expert advice whilst building a compelling case to claim the damages you deserve for your sub-standard care.
To find out if you have a potentially successful bed sore claim, you can call us on: 01204 521 133, where we'll be happy to chat about your circumstances or answer any queries. Alternatively, you can fill out our enquiry form on the right.