With 2020 bringing the sad increase of hospital admissions, the serious conditions that put individuals in hospital beds understandably overshadow the more minor ailments that occur during a hospital stay. However, bed sores can occur in a short time frame if patients are not being sufficiently monitored, and the avoidable pain they cause can be distressing. If someone has suffered from bed sores during a hospital stay, then they may be entitled to claim compensation that can aid them in their recovery.
What are pressure sores?
A pressure sore is when there is damage that has occurred to the skin and the deeper layer under the skin. This often happens when pressure is applied to the same area of skin for a long period of time and it cuts off blood supply to the area. They are often also referred to as ‘pressure ulcers’ or ‘bedsores.’ If they are not treated, they can become very serious in some cases. They may cause pain or mean that someone has to have a longer stay in hospital. In some cases, they can badly damage the muscle or bone underneath the skin, and they can then take a very long time to heal.
How are pressure sores treated?
In the most severe cases, surgery may sometimes be needed to deal with the physical effects of bed sores. However, there are less serious ways to treat the initial appearance of them.
Moving and regularly changing position helps to relieve pressure on ulcers that have already developed, while also helping to prevent other pressure ulcers form. After the medical team that is taking care of the patient has carried out an assessment, they will then draw up a repositioning timetable. This states how often the patient will have to move or be moved in order to not make any bed sores worse or develop new ones. Some people will have to be moved every 2 to 4 hours, but some also need to be moved every 15 minutes. Additionally, patients may also be given advice about:
- Any specialist equipment that they may be able to use to help them remain elevated in bed
- How you can easily change between sitting and lying positions
- How best to support your feet to relieve pressure on your heels
- What the correct sitting and lying positions are to minimise pressure sores
There are also a number of other things that are considered to help in the treatment of pressure sores. These are:
- Specialised mattresses and cushions
- Dressings to protect the pressure sores and speed up the healing process
- Creams and ointments
- Diet and nutrition
- Debridement (removing damaged tissue). This may be achieved with water jets, ultrasound or surgical instruments
When can sufferers make a pressure sore claim?
When a patient has been in hospital for a long period of time, the risk of developing pressure sores is obviously increased. If all necessary steps have not been taken to reduce the possibility of developing them, then a claim can likely be made for negligent medical care. The right legal team will be able to provide expert advice and guide those affected through the process of getting the compensation that they deserve.
If you or a family member has suffered from pressure sores due to negligent medical care, our expert legal team can discuss the options that may be available to you.
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