NJ Nursing Homes and Pressure Sores

New Jersey residents faced some unsettling news this year as they came to realize that their state ranked 49th as a state with the largest percentage of high-risk nursing home residents with pressure sores. The state is noted with doing very little to address issues with the elderly as they also rank 44th in affordability of nursing home care and 39th for Medicaid funding.  Along with these rankings, New Jersey’s elderly are also noted as paying the sixth highest amount in the entire nation as far as nursing home care is concerned. As far as quality and availability, it ranked in the middle. The high costs of nursing home care may be a result of the generally high cost of living in New Jersey itself.

8.1% of New Jersey elderly are known to get bedsores, sometimes known as pressure ulcers, which is a significant problem in the state as far as nursing homes go. New Jersey officials believe that the reason for this may be because of the lack in certified nursing assistants. Jonathan Dolan, who is president and chief executive of the Health Care Association of New Jersey, says that the growing problem of pressure sores is alarming and troubling. His association began working closely with Rutgers University to enable nursing home staff to identify the major associated problems. One of the biggest issues stemming from it was wound care, where officials are now working.

Since pressure sores have become such an increasing issue to the nursing home community, federal regulations have placed extensive obligations on these communities to prevent them. So you ask, what exactly are pressure sores and what causes them? They are any skin lesion or wound caused by unrelieved pressure damaging the underlying tissue. Left untreated, they can lead to serious injury which can become severely infected, result in amputation of a limb, or even sometimes death. It is especially crucial to make sure that the elderly get special care because of the fragility in their bodies already.

Ranging from scale I to IV, these ulcers can especially effect residents of nursing homes in stages III and IV because of the resulting health complications. The health consequences can cause major interruptions in the integrity of the skin. Infecting organisms can then wreak havoc on the body and cause systematic infections. Some things can add to the risk of obtaining pressure sores such as immobility of the patient, incontinence, and poor nutrition just to name a few.

There are many federal regulations covering nursing homes stating that, if a resident enters the nursing home without pressure sores, they should not develop them as long as it is avoidable. So when does a lawsuit come into play? When proper care is not given on the nursing home’s part and somebody ends up severely injured as an effect. The nursing home is completely liable to making sure that they do everything in their power to prevent them from developing. If one is to form anyway, the nursing home must do everything possible to promote healing status.

A full assessment of a treatment plan specific to the nursing home is important when it comes to assessing the liability of said nursing home in regards to the patient’s injuries. A treatment regimen could include regular dressing changes, application of wound treatments, and nutritional supplements. It is the nursing home’s responsibility to look after the elderly in their care and prevent injury at any cost. These are people’s loved ones, who deserve understanding and compassion.