Without the administration of proper preventative measures, many elderly individuals who reside in nursing homes and hospitals are often at increased risk of developing bed sores, which are also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. Bed sores develop when the skin is subject to constant pressure. In such cases, circulation is cut off to certain parts of the body, causing the underlying tissue to die from a failure to receive adequate flow of blood. Areas of the body that are particularly susceptible to bed sores include elbows, hips, heels, shoulders, ankles, back, sacrum, and the back of the head.
With proper care and treatment, bed sores are preventable and treatable. However, they may also be fatal depending on the severity of the bed sore. Bed sores are categorized into four stages: Stage I to Stage IV:
- Stage I: Persistent area of reddened skin, which does not turn white when pressed.
- Stage II: Area of reddened skin is similar to a blister or abrasion, or forms an open sore.
- Stage III: There is a deep wound as damage occurs below the skin. The breakdown of skin is similar to that of a crater.
- Stage IV: Deep, severe skin breakdown with exposure of muscle, bone, and/or tendon.
Bed sores commonly occur in hospitals and nursing home facilities, particularly among residents who are immobile, bedridden, or for those who require assistance when moving certain parts of their body. Bed sores may also commonly occur on residents suffering from cognitive impairments, incontinence, or blood circulation issues. Despite the underlying conditions of these residents, the increased occurrence of bed sores is frequently attributed to the failure of these nursing home facilities to provide preventative care due to their inadequate staffing levels.
Nursing home facilities have an obligation to implement certain measures to prevent the development and worsening of bed sores.Such measures include close monitoring of a resident’s skin, repositioning residents, applying dressing, and providing special bedding. Of course, proper nutrition and hydration are significant in preventing bed sores. Furthermore, nursing home facilities must have a sufficient number of qualified and properly trained staff members so that they are able to detect any early signs of bed sore development and subsequently follow up with appropriate treatment protocols. If these facilities fail to make accurate assessments and administer proper care and treatment, these bed sores may lead to infections, severe pain, and even death.
It is important to note that bed sores are preventable. As such, the development or aggravation of such sores is an indication of elder neglect occurring within these facilities. If you find that your loved one has suffered from a bed sore while a resident of a nursing home facility, we encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation. The development of preventable pressure sores is highly reprehensible, and we will fight vigorously to ensure that those who are responsible are held accountable for their actions.