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Bed Sores Present Dangers to Nursing Home Residents

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Illinois nursing home abuse attorneyWhen you place a loved one under the care of a nursing home, you expect that they will be treated with the care and dignity they deserve. You probably understand that a nursing facility may be more institutional than “homey,” but such facilities are designed to give patients around the clock access to medical care and personalized attention. Unfortunately, nursing home residents face a variety of dangers—some related to their own health conditions and some that may be caused by negligence on the part of the staff. For residents who are bedridden or wheelchair bound, bed sores are among the most common nursing home injuries, and many are the result of substandard care.

What Are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. These injuries are areas of skin that become inflamed due to pressure on the skin that prevents normal blood flow. If not addressed, the inflammation can transform into blisters and eventually open sores. In the most serious cases, the ulcers can continue to worsen and expose underlying muscle and bone.

Pressure ulcers are especially common among patients who are confined to bed or a chair and unable to move themselves easily. Friction caused by contact with clothing or bedsheets and moisture from sweat or urine can accelerate the development of bed sores. Patients with more fragile skin and those with circulatory problems are at a particularly high risk. Bed sores can form on any part of the body, but they are most frequently found on the parts of the body that remain in contact with a bed, including heels, elbows, shoulders, hips, and tailbones.

Preventing Bed Sores

There are several things that must be done to help prevent bed sores for a bedridden patient. The most important is to relieve the pressure on the skin by moving the patient regularly. In a nursing home, this requires staff members to follow a regular schedule of turning residents in their beds and helping them move from their bed to a chair. When moving a patient, it is important to avoid sliding across sheets—which creates additional friction.

Caregivers should also inspect the patient’s skin at least daily to identify possible areas of inflammation before they get worse. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help the patient’s body increase blood flow and prevent pressure ulcers. It is also crucial to keep the skin clean and dry. This may require frequent linen changes, especially if the patient has incontinence issues or tends to sweat.

Signs of Bigger Problems

While bed sores can certainly become extremely painful and dangerous, they are most often an indication of more serious problems for nursing home residents. The development of bed sores could mean that your loved one is not receiving the care and attention they need from the staff. In such a situation, it may be prudent to investigate further into the facility’s standards and practices and to find out if other problems exist.

If a family member in a nursing home is showing signs of bed sores, it is important to take action right away. Contact an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to discuss your available options. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation with Schwartz Injury Law today.

 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/bedsores-decubitus-ulcers-

https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/bed-sore-treatment/

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