If your loved one has been placed in a nursing home, you are probably concerned about his or her quality of life, safety, and level of medical and personal care. As a loving family member, you should be informed about certain symptoms and signs of nursing home neglect like bed sores in the elderly. Your loved one may need you to speak for him or her if unable, and you should pay close attention to any changes in physical or mental health so you can inform staff of anything they might overlook.
Bed sores in nursing homes are a common ailment. Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores or ulcers, this condition includes dangerous skin lesions that can become deep and expose tendons, muscles and even bones if left untreated. These sores often begin as harmless-looking red areas that resemble sunburn and may turn white when pressed with a finger. However, over time, the affected areas can become larger and affect more tissue. The sores can become infected, causing additional complications for the patient.
If you suspect your loved one suffers from bed sores, notify the nursing home staff immediately. If the sores are severe and you suspect that they have been present and untreated for an inappropriate amount of time, you may need to relocate your loved one, report the incident to proper officials and contact an attorney to help you determine the best course of action for your nursing home neglect case.
Why do bed sores occur?
Patients who are unable to ambulate are at risk for bed sores. When a patient lies motionless for a period of time, the skin and underlying muscle is prevented from receiving optimum nutrients that the blood delivers. Necrosis, or tissue death, is the resulting condition of this type of nutrient deprivation resulting in bed sores.
Certain areas of the body are more susceptible to bed sores. Bony areas such as elbows or hips are extremely susceptible to these sores, and once a bedsore starts, the possibility of it returning, even after proper treatment, is elevated. Proper ongoing care and monitoring is the only way to prevent bed sores from recurring.
Bed sores, once diagnosed, receive a classification of one of four stages. These stages are based on the severity of the sore. Once a sore has progressed to a higher stage of tissue damage, it does not recover or heal to a lower level of damage.
Bed sores in nursing homes are preventable. Moving a bedridden patient regularly and providing proper nutrition and monitoring can prevent the onset of these sores.
Proper Care for Bed Sores
If your loved one developed bed sores while living in a nursing home, you should be aware of some basic care procedures for treatment. If you believe that nursing home care staff neglected to follow through with these care tactics, you may need to contact an attorney who specializes in personal injury law and elder abuse cases. You will want to ensure proper treatment is provided to your loved one moving forward and that the responsible party properly handles any damages.
Basic care for bed sores includes ensuring the affected patient is moved regularly, changing positions and providing exercise of the limbs and affected areas to prevent further damage or additional sores. In addition, immediate cleaning practices after using the restroom are essential. Nutrition is another key factor in preventing and treating bed sores. Carefully administered vitamins and well-planned menus including necessary nutrients can assist in the treatment and prevention of bed sores. There are also pressure-reducing padding options that the nursing home can use, such as air or gel mattresses. Speak with nursing home staff to determine which of these treatments are being used to care for your loved one, and keep records of any changes in the patient’s condition.
Call Cordisco & Saile LLC for Help
Cordisco & Saile LLC specializes in personal injury cases and is knowledgeable and experienced in elder neglect cases. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney.