Understanding Bedsores in Nursing Homes

The senior care industry is rapidly growing, with nearly 14 million people currently living in nursing homes. Unfortunately, with not enough workers to meet the demand, many of these facilities are understaffed, and the level of care suffers as a result, leading to health issues for the residents, like bedsores. Here is a guide to help answer any questions you might have about bedsores.

What Are Bedsores?

Bedsores–also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers–are ulcers on the skin or muscles. They are especially common on bonier parts of the body, like joints.

What Causes Bedsores?

Bedsores are caused by a lack of blood flow to the tissue. This lack of blood flow can occur as a result of pressure, friction, or shearing of soft tissue.

What Should I Do If I Find Out That My Loved One Is Suffering From Bedsores?

Finding out that your loved one is suffering from bedsores can be difficult. You might blame yourself, wondering if you should have chosen a different assisted living facility for them to live in. The most important thing to do once you learn that a loved one is suffering is to have their bedsores looked at by a doctor. They will be able to tell you what stage the bedsores are at and put you on a course of action to treat the wounds best. Once your loved one has begun treatment to heal their wounds, you should consider contacting a nursing home abuse lawyer. 

Skilled attorneys like those working for NHLC can help to guarantee that your loved one receives the appropriate financial compensation for their bedsores, including money to cover their medical expenses as well as any other pain and suffering. They will research the assisted living facility that your loved one was living in and will gather evidence to prove that your loved one’s bed sores formed as a result of neglect. Not only will this help you win your case and get your loved one the compensation that they deserve, but it could protect others from suffering the same fate, if not worse.

Who is at the Highest Risk For Bedsores?

Since bedsores are most commonly caused by pressure, people who are bedridden or who otherwise have limited mobility are at the greatest risk of developing them. Even just sitting in one position for a few hours can create enough pressure to cause bedsores. Additionally, people who have poor hydration and nutrition have a slower healing process than someone healthy and are therefore at a higher risk for bedsores. 

Additionally, excessive exposure to moisture can break down the skin’s protective barrier, and make bedsores more likely. So, anyone struggling with excessive perspiration will be at a higher risk.

How Can Bedsores Be Prevented?

Bedsores can easily be prevented with proper care. Since bedsores are most commonly caused by pressure, nursing home staff must try to limit the amount of pressure put onto the bodies of their residents. To do this, they should try to get residents moving more often with fun activities. 

For residents who struggle with mobility, staff members need to help them stay moving to prevent bedsores. To do this, they should try to regularly rotate and move the bodies of residents who are bedridden or in wheelchairs. Doing so alleviates pressure from the points where it most heavily rests on their bodies. Additionally, staff members can prevent bedsores by promoting the health of the residents. To boost their health, residents must have balanced diets so that they can remain well-nourished and well-hydrated.

How are Bedsores Treated?

Once bedsores are discovered, they must be treated correctly to prevent infections. To treat these wounds, clean them with water or a saline solution, pat them dry, and wrap them in a clean bandage. You should change these dressings regularly, cleaning the wound each time. Bedsores can also be healed faster by increasing blood flow to the inflicted areas. You can do this by keeping the injuries elevated. Sometimes, a doctor might recommend that you also use special creams and antibiotics to help fight infections and ensure an easier recovery.

What Happens if Bedsores Are Left Untreated?

If bedsores are left untreated, they have the potential to lead to more severe health issues and even death. Your loved one could end up having to deal with things like deep tissue infections, bone infections, blood infections or sepsis, or even flesh-eating bacteria and diseases like gangrene. These infections lead to the deaths of many seniors each year.

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