Pressure Sores

pressure sores

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores are extremely painful and debilitating.  They have the potential to cause serious long term harm and they can develop within a short space of time.  Pressure sores often generally affect the older population, basically it affects those who are immobile for a period of time and cannot be moved themselves but are relying in other people to help them with mobility.  For those in charge of them they have the responsibility to ensure that anyone at risk of developing pressure sores receives  proper care and attention they need in order to prevent the condition from taking place in the first place.

Pressure sores are also knowns as pressure ulcers or bedsores.

What are the causes of pressure sores ?

Pressure ulcers and pressure sores are the result of being confined to one position whether in a chair for a long period of time or whether in a bed.  The restriction to blood flow results in one or more areas of the skin breaking down and lesions or wounds start to form around the prominent bony areas, such as the hips, lower back and elbows.  Another injury that can arise is from the moisture in the underlying tissues leading to open wounds and infections.  If left untreated bed sores will quickly progress into a very serious medical condition.  Types of pressure sores can start at grade 1, which is presented as patches or discoloured skin to the more severe grade 4, where a wound is open exposing the underlying bone or muscle.

Minor pressure sores will heal over time but an advance stage pressure ulcer or a pressure sore that has penetrated to the bone is unlikely to properly heal and can result in severe complications impacting on the patients future mobility and quality of life.

So what can be done to prevent pressure sores from forming?

Those in charge of care, including hospital staff, care workers and nurses have a responsibility and owe a duty of care to prevent pressure sores from developing in the first instance.  If a patient is at risk and are more likely and more vulnerable to developing bed sores, then a formal risk assessment, known as the Waterlow Scale, will help to identify and estimate the patients’ risk.  This should be carried out when the patient is admitted to hospital so that proper nursing care can be planned and put in place.  The Waterlow Scale takes into account the patients build, weight, their skin type, age and other factors such as mobility, continence, nutrition, nerve deficiency and any other health issues, such as major surgery or trauma, these are all factors that have to be taken into account in order to assess the risk.

How do you prove that you have a claim for negligence for any injury caused by pressure sores or pressure ulcers?

In order to succeed in a clinical negligence claim it is necessary to prove that:

  • the pressure ulcer was preventable; and that
  • reasonable care was not provided.

Although all patient risk factors are assessed on an individual basis the formation of pressure sores may often be traced to a failure to provide an adequate risk assessment or simply negligent nursing care, including a lack of adequate and frequent patient monitoring and a failure to frequently turn patient in the bed.

So how can we help?

At Ridley & Hall Solicitors, as experienced clinical negligence specialists we have the expertise to assist you with this type of case.  We will be able to establish who was responsible and why you or your loved one suffered the injury in the first place.  We will ensure that your case is properly investigated to bring the hospital, medical practitioner, health trust or care home to account for the harm and suffering caused by either yourself or your loved one.

Daxa Patel Ridley & Hall Solicitors Clinical NegligenceMost people are unaware that they may be entitled to claim for compensation for the pain and suffering caused by pressure sores or pressure ulcers.  If you would like further advice today, please call us on 01484 538421 or please complete our contact form below and we will get in touch with you to discuss your case further.

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