When a patient is bedbound for a long period of time, they are at risk of developing bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers.
Because this risk is known, nurses should know to take precautions against bedsores when caring for patients who are confined to their bed for long periods of time. If they do not take these precautions, a patient may be able to make a compensation claim for bedsores in hospital.
Pressure sores begin as areas of redness that are often painful to touch. Over time, if nursing intervention is not forthcoming, the sores become more painful and can become purple. These can then evolve into open ulcers, which can leave a patient scarred and in a great deal of discomfort.
Open sores could also make patients particularly vulnerable to infections such as MRSA, meaning that they become extremely ill and it can also take a long time for the infection to clear.
Bedsores commonly occur because blood flow is restricted in the areas where pressure is applied when a patient is restricted to bed or a wheelchair. For this reason, bedsores frequently develop on patients’ heels, ankles, thighs, buttocks, back and shoulders.
A claim for compensation can be investigated where there is evidence that:
- Nurses did not regularly turn the patient onto their side to ensure that pressure was relieved on the susceptible areas.
- Special mattresses or cushions were not supplied for a patient at high risk.
- Patients were not given adequate food or water.
- Staff did not make attempts to get the patient to exercise out of bed where this was necessary.
If you would like to discuss a potential claim with one of our specialist lawyers please contact us for a free initial consultation.