If you have a parent, spouse or other relative has recently moved into a nursing home, someone has probably warned you to watch out for bedsores. But if you have never seen one before, it can be tough to figure out if your loved one is suffering from bedsores. Here is a brief overview of this painful, potentially fatal, condition, and the common reasons why nursing home residents can develop them.
What are bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue. They occur when the skin, especially skin over bony areas of the body, is subjected to prolonged pressure or friction. Generally, this means lying or sitting in the same position for too long.
It can take days or merely hours for a bedsore to form. Signs of a bedsore include:
- Changes in skin color or texture
- Skin that feels warmer or cooler to the touch than the rest of the body
- Pus-like fluid draining from the site
The most vulnerable parts of the body to bedsores are:
- Shoulder blades
- back of the arms and legs
- Neck and back of the head
- Heels and ankles
- Behind the knees
These are the body parts that tend to stay in contact with the bed or wheelchair when a person uses a wheelchair or is confined to their bed. If left untreated, bedsores can lead to complications like sepsis, cancer, cellulitis and infection.
How nursing home residents get bedsores
In a well-run long-term care facility, nursing staff will regularly reposition residents in this condition to prevent bedsores. They will also inspect residents’ bodies for signs of developing pressure sores, and respond to resident complaints of pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, there are nursing homes in the Lexington area that do not put patient health and safety first. Whether it is due to management cutting corners, hiring unqualified staff, or other reasons, vulnerable residents can develop bedsores due to negligent care.
Your loved one has unexplained bedsores. Now what?
If you notice a possible bedsore on your loved one during your next visit, ask staff about it. If they are evasive or unwilling to agree on a plan to prevent further bedsores, it may be time to contact an attorney who represents victims of nursing home abuse and negligence. The lawyer will listen carefully as you describe what your relative is going through. From there, they will investigate the situation and help you pursue compensation to help pay for your loved one’s medical care.