Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities may require varying levels of care. Some may be relatively independent, only requiring assistance with certain tasks, while others may need constant care and attention. For residents with mobility issues, nursing staff needs to be sure that they are moving them enough to prevent serious health risks, including bed sores.
A patient who is forced to lie down or sit in a wheelchair in one position for too long may develop bed sores. Also known as ulcers or pressure sores, these wounds develop when there is pressure on a certain spot for too long, causing the skin to break down. These injuries are easily avoided if patients are properly tended to, but if caretakers are not giving them the attention they need, patients can suffer.
There are a few ways that bed sores can develop. Most commonly, they are seen in patients who are confined to beds or wheelchairs. A person must be moved periodically to maintain proper circulation, even if it is only to rotate them to the other side or prop them up with a pillow. When nursing home staff do not check on these patients regularly, bed sores will develop, and they can become worse if they are untreated.
Bed sores can also be a sign of malnutrition or dehydration. Many nursing home residents are dependent on caretakers to fulfill their basic nutritional needs. Elderly residents, particularly those who are unable to feed themselves, need to be tended to regularly to ensure they are getting enough nutrients. If a bed sore develops, a person who is dehydrated or malnourished may have difficulty healing and be more prone to infection. Dry skin and weight loss can also be signs of malnutrition or dehydration.
Incontinence is a common issue for elderly residents and can contribute to bed sores. Whether a patient suffers from urinary incontinence or bowel incontinence, they need consistent care to ensure that they are kept clean. Diapers must be changed promptly to prevent skin irritation that leads to bed sores. Soiled bed linens or clothes should be removed and laundered immediately.
Whatever the cause, a bed sore is typically a sign of neglect. When nursing home residents are not receiving the care they need, it creates the conditions for bed sores. Ulcers can be prevented if the right steps are taken to ensure a person’s well-being, but once they form, they can rapidly develop into more serious complications, including infections. Persons with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, may have even more difficulty recovering from bed sores.
Family members and friends of nursing home residents should be on the lookout for possible indicators of neglect. A loved one who complains of pain or discomfort in certain areas may be at risk for developing bed sores, and nursing staff should be notified immediately.
Family and friends should stay involved in the loved one’s care and speak to their caretakers frequently about their condition. Other signs of abuse can include unsanitary conditions, sudden weight loss, or changes in appetite and behavior. These symptoms should be reported to supervisors immediately so that they can investigate whether abuse or neglect may be occurring. If nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected, a lawyer should be contacted as well.
Nursing home neglect is a form of abuse and should not be tolerated. If you have a loved one in a nursing home and you suspect they are being abused, our Delaware County nursing home abuse lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can help. Complete our online form or call us at 610-565-3701 for a free consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.
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