How to Keep an Eye Out for Bedsores in Loved Ones in Nursing Homes
Written by NHAbuseGuide on June 9, 2015
Bedsores are a form of injury that can occur in areas of the skin where blood flow is reduced to the extent that the skin cells die, forming bruised lesions in areas where blood had settled due to being unable to flow. Bedsores, also called pressure wounds, can be prevented by not allowing a given part of the body to remain in the same position for an extensive period of time. Sometimes, bedsores can happen when an elderly or incapacitated person is unable to move him or herself and has no caregivers to help with changing positions, for example, during sleep. However, bedsores can also be a sign of nursing home abuse.
Bedsores Are a Serious Concern for People with Low Mobility
People who have low or no mobility are the most prone to developing bedsores, as they are unable to relieve pressure on parts of their skin by themselves. Even people with caregivers who routinely help them to shift positions can still be at risk for developing bedsores if they also have problems with blood circulation.
Bedsores Can Be a Sign of Abuse by Neglect
A person residing in an assisted living facility who has many bedsores all in one area of the body could be a victim of nursing home abuse. Neglect to reposition bedridden residents by staff is a form of abuse, as it leads to painful pressure wounds that are extremely difficult to treat once they develop. This causes great suffering, both physical and psychological, in the afflicted person. Sometimes, the pain from bedsores is so great as to render sleep impossible to achieve, which can have a serious negative impact on the body, the psyche, and the quality of life of the victim.
Know the Signs
One study published in the Journal of Advanced Research in Nursing Science found that educating people who can observe a person who may be prone to bedsores helped with preventing bedsores (2014). Thus, friends and family members of people in assisted living facilities can benefit from knowing what signs to keep an eye out for. Symptoms of bedsores can include reddened skin or a rash-like appearance to the skin that does not improve over time, and a blister-like wound that later develops into an open wound that is stubborn to heal. Be observant when visiting with loved ones who are in assisted living facilities, and keep an eye out for possible nursing home abuse.
What to Do if You Suspect a Loved One Has Bedsores
If someone you care about develops bedsores while living in the care of a nursing home, report the problem to staff and strongly consider relocating your loved one to another facility. If you suspect the sores have developed as a result of nursing home abuse, call an elderly or disabled abuse hotline or file a report with your local Adult Protective Services agency. Ask the case workers you speak with for resources to help your friend or relative find a safe, secure environment free of abuse in which to live.
Taking Legal Action
If someone you care about has been a victim of nursing home abuse, contact an experienced attorney to find out what your options are. Most lawyers who handle elder abuse cases offer a free consultation so that you can learn about your loved one’s rights under the law and pursue justice for your friend or family member without having to pay out of pocket.