New York State ranks a disturbing 44th of all U.S. states in preventing bedsores (also referred to as pressure ulcers) among high-risk nursing home residents despite its highly-touted “War on the Sore” that the New York Department of Health declared six years ago. The rate of painful bedsores in high-risk nursing home residents in New York was nearly 50% higher than the national average. In New York City, 16% of high-risk nursing home residents had one or more bedsores, which is a much higher rate than the national average of 11%.
Sixteen nursing homes in New York State received federal grants in the amount of $800,000 in 2007 in an effort to reduce bedsores among nursing home residents, including three nursing homes in New York City that had bedsore rates nearly twice or more as high as the New York State average. Nonetheless, all three of the New York City nursing homes that had received the federal grants saw rates of bedsores in their high-risk residents increase since 2007. At one of the New York City nursing homes that had received a federal grant, the rate of bedsores in high-risk nursing home residents rose from 18% to 23%. In another, the rate rose from 18% to 25%. In the third, the rate increased from 21% to 22%.
However, it appears that in one of the three New York City nursing homes, improvements in monitoring and care following receipt of the federal grant money resulted in a 56% decrease in the development of new bedsores among current residents (from 4.2% of current residents developing new bedsores before receiving the federal money to 1.8% after receiving the grant money). (It is not uncommon for nursing home residents to arrive at the nursing homes with existing pressure ulcers.)
Nursing homes that do not adequately address the risks of developing pressure ulcers and/or treating pressure ulcers in their residents run the risk of not only medical malpractice claims based on the development and/or failure to properly and timely treat pressure ulcers that result in monetary settlements or civil judgments, but also state and federal fines for inadequate care and treatment (which are often capped by law and are minuscule in comparison to the harms suffered).
Whether you call them bedsores, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers, the pain and torment they cause for those who have them, and the risk they pose to the health and well-being of their victims, are immense. The immobility, advanced age, serious other medical conditions, and other circumstances of nursing home residents (which include the level of nursing home staffing, the training and competency of the nursing home staff, and the quality of the care provided) may add to the risk of developing bedsores, the difficulty in treating them, and the poor outcome for the nursing home residents who develop this scourge.
If you or a loved one developed bedsores while a resident in a nursing home, or if the care and treatment provided to address the bedsores were inadequate or ineffective, you may be entitled to compensation if medical negligence/nursing home negligence was a cause of the problem.
The prompt advice from a local medical malpractice attorney who handles nursing home claims may be essential in determining whether you have an actionable medical malpractice claim.
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