Bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers) are one of the many medical consequences that are often associated with living in a nursing home. Older adults who have limited mobility may develop painful wounds wherever their bodies frequently touch their chairs and beds.
The buttocks, underneath the shoulder blades, the back of the heels and the back of someone’s head are all places where pressure ulcers or bed sores frequently develop. In some cases, mild bedsores may be inevitable because of someone’s underlying health concerns and extremely limited mobility. However, most of the time, bedsores are preventable and treatable with appropriate nursing home support.
Loved ones who notice one of the two situations below may have reason to suspect that the bedsores affecting an older loved one may be the result of neglect on the part of caregivers.
1. The bedsores keep getting worse
A pressure ulcer starts out as a section of red, inflamed skin. It sometimes takes as little as a few hours for an early-stage pressure ulcer to develop. However, it takes much longer for pressure ulcers to reach a point where the skin breaks and the damage begins to affect underlying tissue. Those who notice that bedsores continue to worsen every time they visit a loved one or who discover late-stage bedsores that have gone undiagnosed and untreated may have every reason to suspect that the nursing home has not provided an appropriate standard of care for their loved one.
2. The bedsores become infected
A wound that develops under someone’s body will be dark and often moist from their sweat. It is therefore in an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. One of the biggest health concerns associated with bedsores is the possibility of an infection developing. Nursing homes should seek to intervene on behalf of those with bedsores not only to prevent them from getting worse but to keep them clean and stave off the potentially life-threatening complications that may arise from an infection.
Family members who notice that their loved one hasn’t received proper support at a nursing home or another long-term care facility may need to act to help protect them. Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home neglect – and seeking legal guidance accordingly – is often crucial for the protection of vulnerable older adults in need of ongoing support.