If your loved one or family member is confined to a nursing home or long-term care center, they could face the risk of bedsores from neglect. Also known as decubitus ulcers and pressure sores, bedsores can develop quickly, over days and even hours.
The frustrating part of the bedsore problem is that these are 100% preventable injuries. Unlike falls, which can and do happen to nursing home residents, providing the proper standard of care for all residents can eliminate the issue of bedsores.
How bedsores develop
When a patient sits or lies in the same position for hours on end, the pressure exerted on the skin — especially bony sections like hips, heels, tailbone and ankles — causes small breaks in the skin integrity. This is evident by an obvious discoloration around the ulcerated skin.
In well-run nursing homes, nurses give reports on each patient under their care and supervision. Each patient should be checked at the beginning and end of every shift, with all changes clearly charted. The incoming nurse should read the patients’ charts and do visual inspections to corroborate their colleague’s chart notes. Then, they should follow the bedsore protocols in place for the facility.
Overworked and understaffed
Many nursing homes all over the country face staffing shortages, causing nurses and aides to work longer hours and double shifts caring for higher than recommended patient numbers. However, that is never an excuse to fail to provide the standards of care that can prevent and treat bedsores before they become life-threatening to already debilitated patients.
If you suspect that your beloved family member is suffering from bedsores in their nursing home, you may need to be their voice and legal advocate to see that they are compensated for their losses.