Bedsores are a common problem in nursing homes across the country. Elderly residents develop these wounds, sometimes called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, from laying in the same place, in the same position for long periods of time. Patients in wheelchairs or who are bedridden are at the highest risk of developing bedsores. While sometimes pressure sores are unavoidable, oftentimes these injuries are the result of nursing home neglect.
Symptoms and complications of bedsores
When you visit your loved one in an assisted-living facility, be sure to check for bedsores and other injuries or infections. Pressure ulcers often develop on one’s backside, shoulders, spine, back of their arms and legs, hip, lower back, or other areas where the bone is close to the skin. Warning signs of bedsores are:
- Changes in skin color/texture
- Tenderness in certain areas
- Red, broken skin
- Pus-like draining
While a minor bedsore may not seem like a big problem, a deep Stage 4 bedsore can reach into the bone and muscle, causing extensive damage. If bedsores progress, major, sometimes life threatening, complications can develop:
- A rare, but potentially fatal, blood infection that occurs from untreated bedsores.
- Bone and joint infections. Both of these infections can damage the cartilage, tissue, and bone, as well as joints and limbs.
- A type of squamous cell carcinoma can develop from long-term sores.
- An infection of the skin that occurs when the pressure ulcer penetrates a deeper level of the skin.
Bedsores as the result of negligence
Attentive and well-trained nursing home employees can help prevent bedsores from forming. Yet, not all nurses and staff members attend to their duties with care. To help prevent bedsores, residents need to be:
- Well-nourished and maintain a healthy weight
- Repositioned often and properly
- Taken to the bathroom frequently to prevent accidents
Without this level of care, the risk of bedsores increases dramatically. Ask your loved one’s nursing home staff about their bedsore prevention plan. Check in with your loved one frequently and watch for warning signs. Make sure he or she receives adequate care.
If you do notice bedsores, and you suspect negligence on the staff’s behalf, contact an attorney for assistance. At Taylor & Ring, our Los Angeles nursing home negligence lawyers have been advocating for patients’ rights for years. Let our legal professionals stand up for your loved one’s rights. To arrange an appointment, contact us at 310-776-6390 or complete a contact form. We serve clients across Southern California.