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Nursing Home Bed Sores: Prevention & Treatment

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If you have noticed a developing or worsening bedsore on your loved one, we encourage you to contact an experienced nursing home attorney from Pintas & Mullins. Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores occur when certain areas of the skin - often the tailbone, hips or heels - suffers from prolonged pressure. For this reason, pressure sores are common in elderly patients who are bedridden or require supportive devices such as a brace or wheelchair. Bedsores are preventable and are one of the major signs of elder abuse and nursing home neglect.

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Preventing & Detecting Bedsores

Because bedsores are such a common issue, all nursing home staff has protocol in place to prevent them. Prevention requires a caretaker to frequently turn the nursing home resident, keeping their skin cool and dry, specialized pillows or mattresses, and providing motion exercises. Equally important is early detection. Every day, nursing home patients’ bodies should be inspected for sores with special attention paid to high-risk regions of the skin, such as:

  • Heels and ankles
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Spine
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Buttocks

Signs that a bedsore is forming include the following:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Temperature differences: the site may be warm or cool
  • Changing in firmness or softness compared to surrounding skin

Stages of Bedsores

These are all signs of a stage 1 sore. Stage 2 sores may include broken skin and a stage 3 sore may include the absence of several layers of skin. Stage 4 sores may include a complete loss of skin and exposure of muscle, bone or tendons. Bedsores can also be “unstageable,” when it is impossible to see the depth of the wound.

Bedsore Effects & Risks

Aside from the obvious skin lacerations caused by bed sores, their are various additional risks and side effects:

  • Bedsores cause incredible pain and can further limit patient mobility.
  • Unstageable sores can indicate a deep tissue injury that is difficut to treat.
  • Contamination can occur causing infection, including sepsis. Untreated sepsis can eventually lead to wrongful death of a patient.

Treating Bedsores

Preventing bedsores is easier than treating them.

If your loved one is suffering from a bedsore, it is critical to administer treatment immediately to prevent more severe consequences. Treatment plans are entirely dependent on the patient and their circumstances, such as the nutrition of the patient, their mobility, the level of care they can access, as well as their level of discomfort. All treatment plans should be clearly communicated to the patient and their loved ones.

Common methods to treat bedsores include:

  • Reducing pressure with consistent repositioning and support surfaces, like an air mattress or cushion
  • Cleaning and dressing the area of the wound
  • Removing any damage tissue (debridement)
  • Pain management to keep the patient comfortable
  • Oral or topical antibiotics for infected wounds not responding to treatment

If all else fails, pressure sores may need to be treated with surgical intervention.

Get in Touch with Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

If abuse or neglect at a nursing home has caused your loved one to suffer bedsores, get our help immediately. We can help to investigate the situation and hold responsible parties liable for their negligence that has lead to personal injury. We can also help you to ensure that your loved one is receiving the care and treatment that they deserve. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm handles nursing home bed sore cases nationwide and will travel to you!

Take the first step in your case today by giving us a call at 800.201.3999.