Your family member deserves dignity and respect when living in a nursing home. However, when staff fail to uphold their duty of care, your family member can suffer.
A common sign of nursing home neglect is bedsores, which can be extremely painful and life -threatening if ignored or improperly treated. So, what are bedsores? Why do they happen? And how can they affect your family member?
What are bedsores?
A bedsore is an injury to a person’s skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores often develop when people stay in the same position for prolonged periods. They typically show up on skin that covers bony parts of the body, such as the ankles, heels, hips, and tailbone. Bedsores can also vary in severity, depth and level of tissue damage.
Older adults are often more prone to bedsores because some struggle with shifting their body. As a result, many rely on nursing home care staff to help them perform these basic movements.
How do nursing home residents develop bedsores?
Sometimes, older adults may to be repositioned, but their requests get ignored or forgotten by staff. In other cases, older adults can’t identify pain and discomfort as well, so staff assume they’re okay and don’t check up on them. This can cause bedsores to go unnoticed until it’s too late. Bedsores can also occur if nursing home staff don’t provide residents with the proper diet and nutrients.
How can I tell if my family member has bedsores?
Your family member may have bedsores if:
- Their knees, ankles, shoulder blades, buttocks, or the back of their head show any skin discoloration.
- They complain about a burning, itching or tender sensation.
- Their pain causes feelings of low self-esteem or depression.
What can happen if bedsores go untreated?
When left untreated, bedsores can break a resident’s skin open, leading to an infection. And if their wounds run deep enough, bedsores can extend to an older adult’s muscles and bones.
In some cases, untreated bedsores can become so severe that older adults can develop sepsis, which can ultimately lead to organ failure or even death.
Ensure your family member gets the care they deserve
Seeing a family member suffer due to nursing home neglect can leave you feeling distraught, disrespected and even betrayed. But by understanding what bedsores are, how to spot them, and how severe they can become, you can keep your family member’s best interests at heart and hold the appropriate parties accountable.