Pressure sores: a very modern danger

Pressure sores a very modern danger

Any person who is bedridden for an extended period of time is vulnerable to developing pressure sores.

Exposure of bony parts of the body and external surfaces such as mattresses, chairs or wheelchairs for a prolonged period of time can result in painful pressure sores.

Hospitals and care homes must try and prevent these painful lesions from developing by 

•Assessing their risk of developing sores

•Providing adequate bedding 

•Making sure bedridden patients change position regularly; turning them if necessary 

No win no fee solicitors Claims Direct can help people make personal injury claims if they have developed pressure sores because of medical or nursing errors.

This compensation can let people have

•Private medical treatment

•Home care

•Much-needed help with housework

•Money to cover loss of earnings

Fatal cases

Sadly, there have been cases where pressure sores caused by medical negligence has resulted in the death of a patient. 

For instance, in May 2010 an inquest ruled that inadequate care was to blame for the death of Alan Simper of Dunstable who died from infected bedsores, within a month of being admitted to a nursing home.

The case is not an isolated one; Paul Sankey, a clinical negligence lawyer at Russell Jones & Walker solicitors, said: “It is so easy for the elderly and vulnerable people to be neglected even in the best hospitals and care homes.”

An occupational therapist’s experience

Anna Darcy (name changed), an occupational therapist in the Midlands, has three years’ experience of providing care for bedridden patients – in homes and hospitals.

Anna emphasises that many patients have pressure sores when they are admitted to hospital. These sores have often developed during times when patients were incapacitated at home or in nursing homes.

In her experience, hospitals have been excellent at assessing whether patients have pressure sores when they are admitted (through the Waterlow grading system). 

Turn rotas

Anna is also impressed by hospitals ability to provide electrically-powered pressure-varying mattresses for vulnerable patients and by staff’s ability to maintain ‘turn rotas’ (turning immobile patients at regular intervals) even during the busiest of times.

Problems, she thinks, often arise when patients are being cared for at home. 

She said: “I’ve seen many instances where older people sleep in their chairs at home. They do this because they can’t manage the stairs or have trouble getting into bed. Often, they spend their days in the same chair that they sleep in at night; a recipe for bed sores. 

It really is heartbreakingly difficult for carers to persuade them not to sleep in their chairs.”