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Relatives should check for signs of pressure sores on loved ones following rise of hospital cases

Senior nurses at two East Yorkshire hospitals have been warned that a rise in cases of bedsores amongst patients is ‘unacceptable’ – and it certainly is so. Five patients were found to have developed bed sores in Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham over the past month, it has been revealed.

Two of the patients reportedly developed bedsores when on surgical wards, two whilst in medical wards and one in clinical support, during the month of August.

All five “serious incidents” have since been reported to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the Trust Development Authority.

Given around 95 per cent of both pressure sores and bed sores are easily preventable through appropriate mobility checks (simply ensuring a patient’s position is changed regularly enough to prevent sores developing), it is not surprising to hear the chief medical officer at the Trust saying he is ‘very concerned’.

Quite rightly, immediate and ‘robust’ action has been taken by the Trust, which has stressed that a number of measures have already been put in place to prevent future cases.

However, whilst we justifiably expect nurses and doctors to prevent such avoidable conditions from developing through poor care, we can also play a role as relatives by being aware of the signs of treatment and care not reaching the standards it should.

Reddened areas of skin which feel tender to touch can often be an early indication of a patient being left in the same position too long, and the onset of sores developing.

Heels, ankles, the spine, buttocks and shoulders are all areas of the body which are most susceptible to developing sores, so it is worth checking those areas should you have a relative in care whose movement is restricted in any way.

At Hudgell Solicitors, as experts in handling cases of medical negligence, we see far too many cases involving bed and pressure sores. They are a serious, painful condition which can develop into more serious infections, such as blood poisoning or gangrene.

We have seen cases ranging from simple soreness of skin and discomfort to extensive underlying tissue damage and destruction, which requires immediate surgery.

The Trust has said that every nurse on every ward where a patient had experienced a pressure ulcer had been involved in reviews of care in the wake of this rise in cases.

But this case also serves as a reminder to relatives to be aware and alert, and ensure they raise any concerns with nursing staff immediately.

If you feel those concerns are not being listened to, and still feel your loved one is not receiving the care they should, then seek further advice and support immediately.

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