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Pressure sores can be extremely painful and can develop surprisingly quickly. They often develop on the sacrum and heels. Anyone who spends any length of time in one position can be susceptible to developing them. This applies particularly to anyone with a serious injury requiring a prolonged stay in hospital with a restricted ability to move or in a state of unconsciousness.
Hospitals and care homes must carry out regular assessments to plan and prevent pressure sores. It should be a fundamental part of their training. Risk assessment tools are used to assess a patient risk. A common tool is known as the Waterlow score test, which uses a points system to score various factors such as sex, age, weight, skin type, mobility etc. A high score means a patient is at risk. They will require regular repositioning which could be as frequently as 1-2 hourly in an intense case reducing to 3-4 hourly in patients with some mobility and able to understand the need for frequent self-repositioning or ability to move themselves. Pressure relieving support surfaces such as beds, mattresses, overlays or cushions should be provided.
If pressure sores develop, they are graded. Grade 1 is the lowest, which usually requires a high specification foam mattress or cushion with close observation of any skin changes. Grades 3-4 will often require an alternating pressure mattress or sophisticated continuous low pressure system.
The development of pressure ulcers and their management should be recorded in the notes. They need to be reviewed regularly to ensure they are managed.
Failure to assess, monitor and reposition causing sores to develop would generally be considered negligent and below the standard expected of a hospital or care home. Put simply, pressure sores should not develop at all but in the rarest and unforeseen circumstances.
They can be extremely painful requiring a significant amount of treatment and a prolonged recovery.
If you, a friend or a loved one develops pressure sores, you may be able to claim for clinical or medical negligence.
Here at Forbes we act on a no win no fee basis and can assist you with claiming compensation for the pain and suffering caused.