It is the responsibility of the individual(s) providing care to ensure that anyone at risk of developing pressure ulcers receives the proper care to prevent the condition occurring. If a carer (usually a nurse) does not assess the risk of pressure ulcers properly and you or a loved one goes on to develop a pressure ulcer whilst in their care, a claim for compensation may be possible. The primary issue in determining whether there has been negligent care is whether the care provided fell below the standard to be expected of a reasonably competent professional carer and, if the care did fall below this standard, whether the failed care caused the ulcer(s) to develop.
In deciding whether care has been negligent, there are a number of aspects of the care, and particularly the recording of such care, which have to be considered. These include:
How complete was the initial assessment of the patient? Was their risk of developing pressure ulceration properly assessed?
There should be entries in the medical and nursing records confirming this assessment together with a body map showing the condition of the skin when the patient was admitted into their care.
These entries should also set out the plan of care to follow as a result of the assessed risk. If there was a risk of pressure sores developing, were steps taken to minimise this risk?
Was there a plan to turn or mobilise the patient and how often was such turning / mobilisation carried out? Immobile patients can required to be turned as frequently as every 2 hours.
Was any specialised equipment provided to relieve pressure? This can include special mattresses, pillows and other pads for specific areas of the body at risk.
Was a special assessment of the patient’s nutrition and dietary needs carried out? This assessment (often called MUST assessment) is vital where a patient is at risk of developing pressure sores as poor nutrition is a significant factor in pressure sore development and progression.
What steps were taken to address any infection which might have developed in the sore?
If you or a loved one has suffered from pressure sores because someone failed to undertake any of the steps outlined above, then you may be able to claim compensation for clinical negligence.
Give our clinical negligence experts a call to discuss your pressure sore compensation claim on Freephone 0800 214 216 or drop us an email using our online enquiry form and we’ll get in touch with you.