Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers, are a common sign of nursing home neglect or abuse. Most of the time, these injuries develop from substandard care. They are caused by confinement to a bed or wheelchair without appropriate pressure relief. These injuries can graduate from minor annoyances to fatal injuries.
Sores tend to develop over bony areas of the body that rest against the bed or chair, such as the elbows, heels, ankles, shoulder blades, and tailbone. Those most at risk for these types of sores are elderly with limited mobility and those with medical conditions that limit the ability to easily change positions.
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Most sores develop over the course of days, but, in some cases, can occur within hours. They can range in severity and are classified by four stages, with stage four being the deepest and most severe. At this stage, muscles, bones or tendons may be visible, and infection and other complications are very common. Treating bedsores can be difficult. Some of the more severe cases do not heal completely and can have serious complications like cellulitis, sepsis, bone infections and more.
Prevention of Bedsores
Because bedsores are caused by confinement and the inability to change positions often, simple preventative measures go a long way. In nursing home and hospital situations, changing positions of the patient is crucial to bedsore prevention. Specialty wheelchairs, beds, mattresses and pillows can also help repositioning and alleviating pressure from problem areas.
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Movement is the most important aspect of caring for those who are bedridden in an effort to prevent bedsores. Other factors that help prevent bedsores include:
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing stress
- Eating healthfully and maintaining proper nutrition
- Staying properly hydrated
- Exercising, when possible
- Keeping bedding and clothing clean and dry
- Protecting skin with moisture barrier cream, keeping clean and dry
- Inspecting skin daily for changes and the start of new sores
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Bedsores as Signs of Neglect
Bedsores can be a warning sign of neglect. Understaffing and inattentive staff members can mean residents are not getting the proper care and attention they deserve. Overworked staff may have limited time with each individual patient, causing them to miss the early warning signs of bedsores. They also may not be moving or repositioning patients enough, not performing appropriate skin checks, not changing soiled linens, and not maintaining proper nutrition and hydration levels in patients.
When the proper preventative measures are neglected, patients can quickly develop bedsores. Missing the early signs of bedsores or neglecting proper treatment can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. If your loved one has experienced bedsores and you suspect neglect, contact Gallon Law for a free consultation at 419-843-6663 or find us online. Discuss your situation with an experienced Ohio and Michigan personal injury attorney.