Choosing a nursing home for your loved one can be tough. It’s hard to trust their care to strangers, especially since nursing home neglect and abuse are real issues.
Pressure ulcers or “bed sores” are among the most common indications that a loved one’s care is inadequate.
What are bedsores, exactly?
Also known as “decubitus ulcers,” bedsores develop when someone’s skin is in direct contact with a bed, wheelchair or other objects for prolonged periods – to the point where the skin and muscle underneath begin to break down. These pressure ulcers are deep, painful and prone to infection that makes it hard for them to heal.
They’re also entirely preventable. Bedsores in nursing homes are generally related to:
- Inadequate staff-to-resident ratios: Despite efforts to the contrary, nursing homes in the United States remain woefully understaffed. When there aren’t enough caregivers around, patients who are bedridden or mobility-challenged don’t get repositioned as often as they need to prevent bedsores from developing.
- Poor hygiene and cleanliness: When the staff can’t keep up with patient care, the hygiene levels among residents can suffer. Soiled clothing and damp bed linens can make it easier for bacteria to take hold and damage skin.
- Malnutrition: Inadequate nutrition and dehydration are common issues in nursing homes, and the lack of nutrients can weaken the skin’s natural defenses, making it easier for bedsores to form.
- Poor medical care: Some nursing home residents only see a doctor on rare occasions – because the staff doctors can be as overwhelmed as the rest of the staff. Conditions like uncontrolled diabetes and circulation problems can make patients more prone to bedsores.
If your loved one has developed bedsores while in a nursing home or other care facility, it may be time to learn more about the legal options available.