As a New Jersey and Philadelphia nursing home abuse firm, we represent people and families who have had loved-ones suffer from horrible pressure ulcers and bedsores caused by nursing home neglect. Many times, our nursing home abuse clients tell us that the bedsore at issue has been classified as a Stage I, Stage II, Stage III or Stage IV bedsore. Although our nursing home abuse clients have this information, they often ask us what the difference is between a Stage I and a Stage IV bed sore or pressure ulcer. This nursing home abuse blog post, as well as the three that follow, will help nursing home abuse victims understand how bedsores and pressure ulcers are classified.
Nursing Home Abuse – Who Classifies Bedsores?
Bedsores are classifieds by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). As a nursing home abuse lawfirm that represents patients with bedsores and pressure ulcers, we frequently use the NPUAP as an authoritative resource when handling bedsore and pressure ulcer cases arising from nursing home abuse. The NPUAP serves as an “authoritative voice for improved patient outcomes in pressure ulcer prevention and treatment through public policy, education and research.” Since 1987, they have been a major part of bedsore and pressure ulcer prevention in the health care field.
Nursing Home Abuse Classifications of Bedsores – Stage I
A Stage I bedsore or pressure ulcer is the least extensive bedsore a patient can have. However, as a bedsore lawyer, we believe that a Stage 1 bedsore or pressure ulcer, in many ways, is the most important stage for nursing home staff and families to understand. The NPAUAP defines a Stage 1 bedsore as as
“intact skin with non blanchable redness of the localized area usually over a boney prominence. Darkly pigmented skin may not have visible blanching; its color may differ from the surrounding area.”
In addition, a Stage I bedsore or pressure ulcer is further described as an area that can be painful, firm, soft warmer or cooler as compared to the surrounding and adjacent tissues.
As nursing home abuse lawyers, we typically will not be called in to investigate a nursing home abuse case involving a patient with Stage I ulcer as these bedsores, if treated promptly and correctly, rarely cause a nursing home patient to needlessly suffer. However, a Stage I pressure ulcer or bedsore is medically significant. Nursing home staff and medical personnel must be trained to carefully assess and identify any nursing home patient who has a potential Stage I bedsore or pressure ulcer. Although prevention is the best medicine for a bedsore or pressure ulcer, if a nursing home fails to prevent a bedsore or pressure ulcer, the next best step is early detection.
Nursing Home Abuse – Prevention
There are numerous federal regulations and state regulations which require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to carefully assess all of their patients on a regular and routine basis to ensure that they are not developing a Stage I pressure ulcer. Family members should also perform their own regular assessment to ensure that the nursing home staff is doing what the law requires. All nursing home patients should be checked daily for Stage 1 bedsores. This skin check should include visually inspecting all areas of the skin that come into contact with a patient’s bed, wheel chair, seat, or even sheets. The areas include the toes, the heels, the buttocks, lower back, elbows, back and even the patient’s head if he or she is immobile or heavily sedated. Any redness or usual signs in these areas should be pointed out to nursing home medical personnel so that a thorough medical exam can be performed to ensure that a Stage 1 bedsore has not developed.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
As will be seen in later posts, a Stage I pressure ulcer can very quickly develop into a much more serious and catastrophic problem. If you or a loved one developed a Stage 1 bedsore while at a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation. You may also call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Let the team at the Mininno Law Office fight for your right to compensation!