Nursing Home Lawyer PA

Nursing Home Pressure Ulcer

A nursing home pressure ulcer is often a preventable injury. Nursing homes who fail to properly care for residents put them at risk of skin damage, infection, and complications from pressure sores. Pressure ulcers are a serious medical condition that often indicate poor care at the nursing home. According to the National Nursing Home Survey, about 10% of residents have a nursing home pressure ulcer.

Risk Factors for pressure ulcers

There are several factors that increase a resident’s risk of a pressure ulcer. Nursing homes are responsible to assess a resident and understand if they are at risk. Then they are required to create a plan of care to minimize that risk. Residents who have the risk factors below should be assessed for risk of a nursing home pressure ulcer:

  • Recent weight loss
  • Immobility
  • Taking more than 9 medications
  • Bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Fragile skin

Residents should be assessed upon admission and regularly thereafter to screen for pressure injury risk. The Braden scale is a widely accepted screening tool that looks at six categories to determine risk of skin problems. A lower score on the Braden scale denotes a low risk of pressure injury, while a high score shows a higher risk. Residents with risk factors must have extra precautions taken to prevent skin injury. Nursing homes that fail to prevent a nursing home pressure ulcer may be found negligent.


How important are repositioning and hygiene?

Proper repositioning is essential to prevent a nursing home pressure ulcer. Staff should reposition the resident every 2 hours to relieve pressure on the skin, especially over bony prominences. Facilities should have supplies such as pillows or wedges available to help with positioning. The staff should take care to keep the resident’s skin dry and clean. This job often falls on the nursing assistants who are responsible for the resident’s hygiene. Too often, failure to reposition the resident and keep their skin clean and dry results in a preventable nursing home pressure ulcer. This is simply unacceptable, and the family has the right to hold the nursing home responsible.


Treatment of pressure ulcers

Unfortunately, when a pressure ulcer develops some nursing homes fail to initiate proper treatment for healing. Only 35% of residents with a stage 2 – stage 4 nursing home pressure ulcer received wound care from a specially trained professional. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this suggests that many nursing home residents failed to receive wound care in accordance with clinical practice guidelines.



Pressure sores that aren’t well-treated can result in a variety of complications that cause long, expensive hospital stays.  These infections can include:

  • Severe cellulitis – a skin infection
  • Osteomyelitis – bone infection
  • Gangrene – tissue death from lack of blood flow
  • Sepsis – a medical emergency from the body’s response to infection
  • Necrotizing fasciitis – can occur from an infected pressure ulcer

Complications from pressure ulcers account for 60,000 deaths per year. Families of residents who suffer from a nursing home pressure ulcer can get help. If your loved one experienced a negative outcome from a preventable pressure ulcer, our attorneys can help make things right. We can seek financial payment for the injuries caused by poor care at a nursing home.  Call us today and tell us about your situation. Our expert attorneys can help you take the first step by filing a claim.