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What Neglect is Involved with Wound Infections in Nursing Homes?

April 24, 2020

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Neglect can be simply not changing a dressing over a wound, or it can be to intentionally leave a patient unattended for long periods of time. The result is the same, whether there was intent or some miscommunication with the staff. When your family member is suffering from a wound that should have healed without incident, it’s probably because of nursing home neglect. 

Nursing home neglect is startlingly common, and to take charge, you must elevate your standards and then take legal action. 

Poor Care in Dressing Changes

Changing dressings or wraps on wounds is the very basic level of care that helps defend against infections. What happens when medical staff change the dressings is that they remove a potentially wet strip of gauze or fabric protection. The wetness would create the environment for an infection to set in. 

But, the other side of the dressing changes is that it gives the medical staff the opportunity to look at the wound. So much of the medical field relies on simply looking at something. Wounds very much need attention, and the visual appearance of the wound can help a medical professional decide if it’s healing well or if there’s an infection. 

Now, infection in a wound does not inherently mean that there’s neglect. Infection can happen without neglect but is often caught early on. A nurse may report that they suspect an infection, and at that point, a doctor should get involved and possibly prescribe antibiotics. What often happens with neglect is that there is an extensive infection on the level of sepsis. 

Unreported Conditions for Infections 

When a nurse sees the possible environment for infection and doesn’t say anything, then that is neglect in terms of they knew what to do and chose not to do it. For those who need support in maintaining that the nurse failed to report, they’ll need a statement from the victim. 

For example, if the wounds were cared for but were turning color or beginning to smell, and the nurse didn’t do anything, the victim would create a statement. That statement would acknowledge that the wound was cared for, but the infection was ignored, it’s a failure to diagnose. 

Nursing Staff Neglect 

When you have outright neglect, it’s likely that the infection will cause abnormal temperatures, fast heart rates, and quick breathing. These are often signs of sepsis, and it means that the infection has advanced significantly. 

A wound doesn’t have to stem from a recent surgery either. In fact, if there’s abuse or neglect, it’s likely that they could get an infection or sepsis from bedsores, or even foot ulcers. There are so many possibilities that it’s vital that you have a qualified medical professional look at the conditions of the wound and the progression of the infection.  

General Carelessness 

Many medical professionals face charges or allegations of neglect when what has happened is that they did not understand the extent of carelessness. People often forget that elderly bodies simply can’t bounce back as quickly as others. Wound care should be a top priority. It’s critical that you keep moisture away from the wound and prevent bacteria growth. 

Then when you have patients with gout, diabetes, or similar conditions, they may require more care and take longer to heal. A little bit of carelessness in a nursing home can quickly become neglect. The patient simply isn’t receiving the level of care they need to thrive. When that happens, it’s possible for the victim or their family to pursue legal action for negligence against the medical professional or the facility if they are responsible for their employees.  

Should Your Family Hire an Attorney for Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home negligence lawyers make it a challenge for nursing homes to get away with complacent or outright negligent behavior. Get someone involved in the case for your elderly or disabled family member so you can know that the neglect is handled now, rather than not at all. Wound infections, be it from a past abuse situation or recent surgery, can lead to death. 

Patients with wounds must be reviewed often and carefully to ensure that they can recover to the best of their ability. Neglect is a serious allegation, and it is so because it can lead to death or severe loss of quality of life. Not only can you stand up to this nursing home, but you can fight for what should have happened. Contact Connell Law. We’ll help your family understand what happened, why the neglect took place, and who was responsible.