Prevention of Bed Sores
In order to prevent the development of bed sores, nursing home facilities must implement systematic methods to decrease bed sore risk factors. Specifically, nursing home facilities should assess the resident’s mental and physical conditions including skin condition, mobility, nutrition, incontinence, activity levels, along with risks for friction and shear. Conducting such comprehensive assessments of a resident will enable the facility to develop an effective care plan tailored to the needs of that particular resident, resulting in the prevention of bed sore development.
Mobility and Repositioning
Ensuring that a resident is repositioned and able to move around are effective methods to prevent the development and worsening of bed sores. Residents who are mobile and not bedridden or confined to a wheelchair should be encouraged to move by standing, walking, and exercising. Frequent exercise will help maintain healthy skin by facilitating the circulation of blood and strengthening important muscle tissues.
For residents who are confined to a wheelchair, their weight should be shifted every 15 to 20 minutes. Furthermore, such residents should be repositioned every hour in order to increase blood flow and remove pressure off of certain parts of their body. For residents who are bedbound, caretakers should ensure that they are repositioned at least every 2 hours in order to relieve pressure on bony areas. Repositioning should encompass changing residents from their back to their right and left sides, and residents should not be dragged in or out of their beds as dragging contributes to skin breakdown. Furthermore, caregivers should afford extra attention to areas that are particularly vulnerable to bed sores including the heels, knees, elbows, ears, black, tailbone, spine, ankles, hips, shoulders, and back of the head.
In order to minimize friction, proper repositioning, turning, and transferring techniques should be implemented. Soft cushions may also aid in placing the body in a proper position, thereby relieving pressure and protecting vulnerable areas. Furthermore, the head of a resident’s bed should be elevated as little as possible, no more than 30 degrees, in order to prevent shearing.
Caregivers should conduct thorough daily skin inspections, while paying special attention to bony areas, in order to identify early signs of bed sores. Excessive dryness or dampness of the skin may increase a resident’s risk of bed sore development. Thus, in order to reduce dryness and skin irritation, caregivers should wash a resident’s skin with warm water and mild soap, and dry the skin gently with a towel. Furthermore, disposable underpads and talcum powder may also aid in controlling moisture and protect skin.
Providing residents with proper nutrition and adequate fluids, protein, minerals, and vitamins are essential to preventing bed sore development. Caretakers should assist residents who have significant weakness or limited mobility to ensure they receive the nutrition and hydration necessary to maintain healthy skin.
Adequate Staffing Levels
Bed sore prevention and treatment requires caretakers to provide proper nutrition, pressure relief, and incontinence care. Residents require frequent repositioning, cleaning and drying, and administration of nutritional supplements. As such, nursing home facilities must provide adequate staffing levels to have a sufficient number of qualified staff members who will implement these prevention and treatment care plans. Adequate staffing levels have been shown to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers in nursing home facilities.
If you believe your loved one has suffered from a bed sore while in the custody of a nursing home facility in California, or if a nursing home has failed to administer proper care to prevent or treat the development of bed sores, we encourage you to contact us today. Our experienced team of attorneys will evaluate your case with a team of experts, and make a determination as to whether your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse and neglect.