When Severe Pressure Ulcers (Bed Sores) Develop, Take a Picture!

Severe pressure ulcers (pressure sores, bed sores, decubitus ulcers) develop in nursing homes and assisted living facilities far too frequently.  Pressure ulcers used to be photographed by long term care facilities as a matter of policy when a patient was admitted with an ulcer, when an ulcer got worse, and when the patient was discharged with an ulcer.  Once facilities realized, however, that photographs could be used against them as evidence in cases involving the facilities' failures to prevent and treat the ulcers properly, their policies were changed and pictures were no longer taken.

Pressure ulcer photographs are potent evidence of the existence, size, and condition of the ulcer.  Although it may seem a bit gruesome, families need to ensure that when their loved ones develop pressure ulcers, those wounds are photographed, preferably with a digital camera -- the higher the resolution (i.e. megapixels), the better.  Families should make sure that photos are taken by or with the assistance of a health care professional, usually a nurse.  Don't rely on the nursing home or the assisted living facility to tell you they are taking or will take photographs.  If the facility did a poor job preventing pressure ulcers or keeping them from getting worse, you can they will do everything possible to keep photographs of their neglect from being taken.  

When you suspect that a nursing home or assisted living facility has neglected your loved one and has allowed a severe pressure ulcer to develop or deteriorate, a picture truly is worth a thousand words!____________________________________________________________
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia

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