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Bedsores Part II: Maine Families Can Take Action

BedSore-Wikipedia

A Bedsore is A Wound
You visit your parent and overhear a nurse’s aide tell your mother/father that “the nurse will come in after your visitor leaves and change your dressing.” What dressing!!!

This may be your first inkling that anything has gone wrong with you parent or grandparent. You ask questions and learn the truth-your family member has been allowed to develop a bedsore!

No one who comes to a Maine nursing home should develop a bedsore. Developing a bedsore in a Maine nursing home is supposed to be a “never event”. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Augusta or Aroostook, Bangor, Portland or Rockland. A bedsore wound should happen so rarely that the federal government has instructed Medicare and Medicaid not to pay for bedsore treatment. Maine Nursing homes are required to follow these federal laws just like every other state.

If your parent or grandparent develops a bedsore while a nursing home resident, send a fax to the nursing home and your loved one’s doctor along these lines:

Dear “X” Nursing Home Administrator and Dr. “Y”:

When my parent came to you he (she) did not have a bedsore. I made a special point to ask that you take care that my parent not develop a bedsore. Under Federal Law (42 CFR Sec. 483.25 you were supposed to make sure that my parent (grandparent) did not develop a pressure sore. Please explain to me in writing why this happened. Also, please write to me and tell me what you are going to do to provide necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevalent infections and prevent new sores from developing.

Thank you for giving this matter your attention.

Very truly yours,

Make sure you save the fax transmission record and then call for an appointment with the nursing home director and the doctor to discuss what they plan to do. When you meet, emphasize that you want them to write back to you, and that a conversation won’t cut the mustard. Tell the doctor that you want him to personally inspect the wound. Tell the doctor that you want a written report that tells you:

  • The size of the wound
  • The stage of the wound
  • The treatment he intends to use to heal the wound
  • How he intends to hold the nurses responsible for following his orders.
  • When he intends to inspect the wound next.
  • What pain medication he is going to give to your loved one.

These actions, writing and having a meeting, are important steps you can take to make sure that your loved one doesn’t linger, or even die, from a bedsore wound.

Tomorrow:

Step Three: What To Do Make Up For What Can’t Be Fixed About a Bedsore