Nursing Home Complaint Regarding Bed Sores

Pressure sores are sometimes also called "pressure ulcers," "decubitus ulcers," or "bed sores," and the failure of the nursing staff to provide needed treatment is a basis for a nursing home complaint.

Federal regulations regarding pressure sores provide:

(b) Skin integrity - The facility must attempt to use appropriate alternatives prior to installing a side or bed rail. If a bed or side rail is used, the facility must ensure correct installation, use, and maintenance of bed rails, including but not limited to the following elements:
      (1) Pressure Ulcers. Based on the comprehensive assessment of a resident, the facility must ensure that -
          (i) A resident receives care, consistent with professional standards of practice, to prevent pressure ulcers and does not develop pressure ulcers unless the individual's clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; and
          (ii) A resident with pressure ulcers receives necessary treatment and services, consistent with professional standards of practice, to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new ulcers from developing.

      42 CFR Part 483.25(b)(1)

There are two aspects to this regulation. One aspect addresses residents who do not have pressure sores; the other deals with treatment and services after the resident has a pressure sore, no matter where acquired.

The regulation provides that a resident without bed sores should not develop them unless they were unavoidable. This is a very high standard for the nursing home to meet, and requires that the staff regularly complete all of the routine prevention measures in the care plan such as frequent turning and repositioning, prompt incontinent care, and use of pressure relieving devices. There are few situations where the development of pressure sores is truly unavoidable.

Once a resident has pressure sores, it is up to the nursing home to promptly notify the resident's doctor and then provide all of the care needed to help the wound heal, keep the pressure sore from becoming infected, and developing new pressure sores.