A bed sore can be a shocking thing to see on a loved one’s body. Is it a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect? Possibly, but not always. It is a reason to be aware of the care being provided.
Bed sores, sometimes called pressure ulcers, are skin lesions that may be caused by unrelieved pressure, friction, continence, medication and shearing forces and other sources. At one point in time, they were the second leading cause of death for people being treated in medical facilities. Bed sores should not be ignored or dismissed.
Any part of the body can develop a bed sore, but bony or cartilage areas such as the elbows, knees, ankles, and sacrum are commonly affected. There are four stages of a bed sore, and a progression from one stage to a worse stage is definitely a red flag in a nursing home. If the bed sore wasn’t discovered until it reached an advanced stage, it’s another reason for alarm in many cases.
The Four Stages of a Bed Sore Are:
- Stage I – The bed sore presents as an area of red skin that may be itchy or painful. The sore may feel warm, spongy or firm when touched. As soon as the pressure is relieved, the sore will generally heal quickly.
- Stage II – Some skin loss has occurred. The site is an open sore that may appear as an abrasion or blister. The tissue around the wound may appear red or purple.
- Stage III – A deep wound looking like a crater is apparent. Most or all of the skin at the center of the site has deteriorated. Underlying muscles and bone have not been damaged yet.
- Stage IV – Skin is severely damaged and the surrounding tissue has started to die. Muscles, bones, tendons, and joints may also be damaged. There is a serious risk of developing a life-threatening infection such as sepsis.
The skin is our body’s protection from all kinds of infections and diseases. When it’s broken in any way, the body is vulnerable. Bed sores must be taken seriously.
Elderly Vulnerable to Bed Sores and Pressure Ulcers
Elderly people are more prone to develop bed sores/pressure ulcers, and medical professionals are well aware of that. The potential seriousness of the injury should be cause for heightened alertness and increased preventive measures.
The most common reasons for the elderly to develop bed sores include:
- Failure to reposition the body
- Lack of proper hydration
- Poor nutrition
Bed sores in nursing homes shouldn’t happen with proper procedures. Elderly people restricted to beds must be repositioned at least once every two hours. Elderly restricted to wheelchairs may need to be repositioned every 15 minutes. This has been known for many decades. Hydration is also important to make sure the skin has enough water to resist bed sores. Nutrition provides important vitamins and minerals to the cells of the skin that make them stronger.
When to Call a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
The time to call a nursing home abuse attorney is the very moment you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect. It’s always best to get help at the earliest stages possible, as a general rule.
Bed sores are a common sign of nursing home neglect. If you have concerns or doubts, contact the experienced attorneys at Banville Law right away. We’ve seen many cases of bed sores and nursing home neglect. We’ll be able to help your peace of mind or to pursue the matter into court if necessary.