Because the human body is designed to be moving, if we sit or lay down and don’t move positions – even for as little as 12 hours – our circulation is impeded. When this occurs, it can slow or stop the blood flow in the area that is being compressed. As a result, skin tissues are destroyed and bedsores (also known as decubitus ulcers) can form.
With seniors living in nursing homes, bedsores often occur from sitting in a wheelchair for an extended period of time or lying in bed without being moved. This creates prolonged pressure on the skin due to one’s body weight and bones pressing against the surface of the bed or wheelchair. Bedsores typically occur right over a bone – often in the hips, elbows, heels, tailbone, or shoulder blades. However, the buttocks is one of the most common areas for bedsores.
Because bedsores are painful and can lead to bone infections and even death, it is important that nursing homes take proper steps to prevent bedsores. Additionally, families who have loved ones living in Florida nursing homes need to be aware that nursing homes have ways to reduce bedsores.
Steps in Preventing Bedsores
- Routine skin and body inspections. Nursing home staff are supposed to perform daily head to toe inspections of patients, which are known as daily skin assessments. When they do this, they are able to prevent bedsores from developing or notice early signs of when the skin is about to break down. If they fail to provide this standard of care to nursing home residents, it is considered negligence.
- Regular movement of residents. Even if some residents are bedridden and can’t move, nursing home staff should reposition them every few hours – or every half hour if in a wheelchair – and use the proper supports.
- Intervention. If a nursing home staff member spots a bedsore developing on a resident, the nursing home needs to provide the resident with the proper medical care so that the ulcer doesn’t progress into an open wound or an infection. If they fail to intervene in a timely manner, it can result in serious consequences for the senior.
If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, you may assume that the nursing home is doing their part for your family member’s health care, but it isn’t a bad idea to also look at your loved one’s skin during your visit.
Signs to Be Aware Of
Some signs the skin is about to break down and a bedsore might develop can include warm areas in the skin, spongy to the touch or hard to the touch, skin redness that may itch, and a visible breakdown in the skin’s top layer, such as flaky skin. If you spot any of these concerns, report it to nursing home staff immediately. Unfortunately, some nursing homes neglect residents, which is why this knowledge about bedsores is good to have.
Sometimes a bedsore might go unnoticed by nursing home staff and it can become a serious health concern. Not only do bedsores cause residents pain, but they can lead to complications – especially when they go untreated.
If your loved one is suffering from a bedsore, it is important that you seek legal guidance. To get your questions answered in a free consultation with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney, contact the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 today.