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Pressure Sore Claims

If you have suffered from pressure sores due to negligent treatment in a hospital, or a nursing home, you may be able to claim compensation.

We have acted for many clients in the past who have developed pressure sores due to the negligent treatment of hospital or nursing home staff, which in some circumstances led or contributed towards their death.

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What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores (also known as bed sores/ulcers) occur when an area of skin is placed under great pressure.

Elderly or disabled patients who are bed bound and unable to move around very well are most likely to develop bed sores. This is because blood flow to the skin can be disrupted if it is in contact with a wheelchair or bed for an extended period of time. When the skin is starved of essential oxygen and nutrients, it can lead to a breakdown of tissue and pressure sore formation.

Pressures sores must be treated appropriately and quickly by nursing staff. If not, the wound can increase in size and depth. Sadly, this can then leave patients at risk of various infections and they can suffer excruciating pain. In some extreme cases, if pressure sores are left untreated, they can result in amputation or even death.

Pressure sore grading:

If pressure sores are not treated quickly, they can become more severe. The severity of pressure sores are measured through a grading system. The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) grading system is often used when describing the grade of the pressure ulcer. According to this system, pressure sores are graded from 1-4, with 1 being less severe and 4 being very severe. The grades are defined as follows:

How can pressure sores be prevented?

The majority of pressure sores are preventable, and their worsening can be halted with early and appropriate treatment. Early treatment prevents the pressure sores from deteriorating and becoming a more severe grade, as described above.

Stopping pressure sores from developing is extremely important. Fortunately, nursing staff have several ways of making sure pressure sores do not develop:

Skin Inspection

Firstly, an inspection of a patient’s skin needs to be carried out and frequently repeated. This is true for all patients who are admitted to hospital, especially for those who are unable to move around well and get out of bed without help. The bed sores can develop on any part of the body but are more frequently found in the sacral area, buttocks, heels, hip joints and on the back of the head.

The Waterlow System

The risk of a patient developing a pressure sore increases if they are dehydrated, malnourished, confused, or have other illnesses such as diabetes. Nurses often use a special risk assessment called the ‘Waterlow System’ to calculate a patient’s risk of developing a pressure sore. The higher a patient’s Waterlow score, the higher the risk of developing sores.

Pressure Relieving Equipment

Patients with a higher risk of developing pressure sores should be given pressure relieving equipment. For example, they may be given a pressure-relieving mattress. They should also be turned on a regular basis to avoid extensive pressure to particular areas of the skin.

How can pressure sores be treated?

The treatment of pressure sores varies depending on the grade. For those patients who are more prone to developing ulcers, the help of a Tissue Viability Nurse (a nurse who specialises in the treatment and prevention of pressure sores) should be sought. The treatment types are as follows:

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Do you have a potential pressure sore claim?

Please contact us for advice if you feel you have suffered any form of negligent medical treatment. We have a specialist team of medical negligence solicitors who are always happy to help.

If you would like advice on whether you have a potential pressure sores claim, please contact us. Please note that there are legal time limits in place for starting a claim for compensation. Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case.


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