If there is one physical injury often considered synonymous with a stay in a nursing home, it is probably the bedsore or pressure ulcer. Those who experience limited mobility as they age are at high risk for developing painful bedsores.
Bedsores form when the body constantly puts pressure on one point. The constant pressure and lack of support or relief can lead to the breakdown of skin tissue at the surface. From there, once the skin becomes damaged, bedsores can become more severe, going through all layers of the skin and sometimes all the way down to the bone.
Not only are bedsores on their own quite painful, but they can lead to potentially fatal secondary infections, just like any other open wound. Despite how frequently people associate bed sores with nursing homes, they are not and should not be commonplace. Rather, they are a sign of neglect.
Nursing homes can help prevent pressure ulcers from forming
The less mobile someone is, the greater the risk for developing bedsores. Nursing home staff generally understand the correlation between limited mobility and the development of bedsores.
They can drastically reduce the likelihood of someone developing these painful and dangerous sores by providing cushioning, assisting them with rotation, manually moving them in their seated or reclined position, and even by moving someone from a bed to a chair or vice versa.
Frequent movements and adjustments to someone’s posture can prevent sores from developing at common points of contact, including under the hips or buttocks, the back of the knees, the shoulder blades, the back of the head and even the back of the heels.
Nursing homes should check for and treat bedsores frequently
The fewer staff members on hand during any given shift, the less rotation and movement is possible for sedentary residents. Nursing home staff should make a point of inspecting residents for signs of injury frequently. If they spot even the reddening skin of an early-stage bedsore, they should document and take steps to treat it, including changing the positions that person uses throughout the day.
If your loved one has severe or untreated bedsores, they may be the victim of nursing home neglect. Taking legal action against the facility will potentially help prevent the same thing from happening to someone else in the future.