Bedsores In Nursing Homes

pressure sore injury claimsElderly residents living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities typically have limited mobility. Many of these residents are confined to their beds or wheelchairs for several hours in a day. As such, they need to be repositioned or turned throughout the day to prevent painful bedsores from developing.

Bedsores, also called pressure sores, are often the result of nursing home negligence resulting from staffing shortages or poor training. Left untreated, these pressures sores can lead to life-threatening conditions, including sepsis.

If your loved one suffered bedsores due to nursing home negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation on his or her behalf. At PKSD in Santa Fe, our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers advocate for elderly residents in nursing homes every day, and we are prepared to help you. Our firm has a history of proven results, we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.

Call 505-677-7777 today to request a FREE case review.

What Are Bedsores in a Nursing Home?

Bedsores, sometimes called pressure sores, are so called because of the way they develop. These wounds develop because of prolonged pressure on a resident’s skin. Sitting or lying in the same position for extended periods of time puts pressure on the skin, causing injury to the underlying tissue. Residents with limited mobility are especially at risk of developing these sores.

Certain parts of the body are more vulnerable to developing bedsores than other areas, such as:

  • Hips and buttocks
  • Ankles and heels
  • Lower back and tailbone
  • Back of the head
  • Elbows

How Do You Know if Bedsores Are Serious or Just Developing?

Bedsores progress through several stages. When caught early on, these sores are more surface level and therefore more treatable and more likely to heal. Left untreated, the sores develop deeper into more layers of skin. This makes it more likely for infections, like sepsis, to develop. For elderly patients, sepsis is often fatal.

Stage I

In the beginning stages, bedsores may look something like a red or sore area on the top layer of the skin. They may feel warm to the touch, and the area will feel spongy or firm. The resident might say that it itches or hurts. Pressure sores on darker skin may first appear as a bluish-purple mark. The skin may look flaky or ashen. At this stage, pressure sores are easily treated, simply by relieving pressure to the area. Often they will heal on their own.

Stage II

At the second stage, pressure sores will be bad enough to cause some skin loss. Skin loss may only affect the top layer of skin, but it may begin to go deeper, affecting lower layers of the skin. The appearance of a stage II pressure sore looks something like a red or purple abrasion. It may also look like a blister. At this stage, pressure sores are still very treatable with immediate medical attention.

Stage III

The sore, which has now developed into more layers of the skin, will look more like a deep crater or pit-shaped wound at this stage.

Stage IV

Stage IV is the most severe stage. At this point, the wounds are open, deep and show extensive skin loss. Other areas, including the tendons, joints, muscles and bones, are affected at this stage. Pressure sores that reach stage IV are much harder to treat.


Bedsores that get this bad involve significant tissue loss. Doctors may have a difficult time assessing the depth or stage of the sore. Often they must first remove the layer of slough that is covering the top of the wound.

How Can Nursing Homes Help To Prevent Bedsores?

There are a number of things that nursing homes can and should do to protect elderly residents and help prevent pressure sores from developing.

Utilize Cushions and Frequently Reposition Residents

Pressure sores are preventable. Nursing home staff can do this by periodically turning and repositioning residents. The purpose of this care is to make sure no body part is left experiencing prolonged pressure. The turning schedule for residents in wheelchairs is every 15 to 30 minutes. Residents who are confined to their beds should be turned every two hours, at a minimum. Caregivers should help residents to turn if they cannot move themselves.

Different types of cushions can help relieve pressure throughout the day. Caregivers can use various foam pillows and wedges to help relieve pressure. Special mattresses, beds, heel protectors and boots also help to prevent pressure sores.

If you notice any signs of pressure sores developing, or you suspect neglect, you should immediately inform the nursing staff. You should also report these wounds to the attending physician and nursing home director right away.

Provide Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Nursing homes owe a legal duty to residents to provide proper nutrition. Residents need healthy sources of zinc to protect layers of skin tissue, keeping it healthier. Proper nutrition can also help pressure sores to heal faster, preventing them from becoming infected.

Similarly, hydration also plays a key role in keeping skin healthy and helping to prevent pressure sores from developing. Getting enough fluids daily helps to maintain and support proper blood flow to any smaller wounds, which can help prevent them from getting worse.

Daily Hygiene

Nursing homes need to clean and inspect residents’ skin daily. Catching pressure sores early on, before they become severe, can help prevent serious infections. This means making sure residents are not sitting for long periods in soiled sheets, diapers or clothing. Bathing them daily to keep skin clean and hydrated.

If bedsores begin to develop, maintaining hygiene is even more critical to help the wounds heal and prevent infections.

Call Our Experienced New Mexico Attorneys

wisconsin bed sore injury lawyer jeff pitmanIf you or your loved one has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, contact an experienced attorney to protect your rights and pursue compensation for the harm endured.

Taking legal action against a negligent or abusive nursing home is a powerful way to raise awareness, enhance care quality, and improve the lives of your loved one and other victims.

At PKSD, we are committed to preventing negligence and abuse in nursing homes. Our attorneys focus exclusively on this complex area of law and work tirelessly to hold nursing homes accountable.

Our team, which includes lawyers, paralegals, and nurses, handles the most nursing home cases in the state. We assist clients and their families in obtaining financial restitution for pain, suffering, financial loss and medical expenses. We offer extensive resources, aggressive representation, personalized attention and compassionate legal care to each client.

Contact PKSD in New Mexico at 505-677-7777  to request a FREE case review.

Back to top