Treatment of Bed Sores
Nursing home staff members should notify a physician immediately if a resident suffers from a sore, redness, skin change, or pain which persists for more than a few days. If the physician finds that a bed sore has developed, the size, depth, and location of the sore should be examined to determine its severity.
In order to treat a bed sore, the pressure causing it must be relieved. Residents who are suffering from bed sores must be repositioned frequently and regularly, and put in positions that will not place pressure on bed sores that have already developed. Special cushions, mattresses, pads, and beds may be used to assist the resident to lie in a proper position that will aid pressure relief on existing bed sores.
Cleaning and Dressing
In order to allow the wounds to heal properly without infection, the damaged, infected, or dead skin tissue must be removed through a process called debridement. Debridement comprises of dead tissue removal via surgery, scrubbing or irrigation, or dissolution using enzyme preparations. Then, the wound is cleansed using saline solution. Wound dressings keep the wound moist, help absorb drainage, and also act as a barrier against infection. These dressings must also be changed on a regular basis to promote healing.
If a bed sore fails to heal after two weeks despite proper cleansing and dressing, antibacterial medications may be administered. These antibiotics should only be administered to residents with skin or underlying bone infections. The resident’s physician must be involved and notified at all times. It is important for nursing homes to evaluate the resident’s healing process weekly, as it may take a few days to several months for a bed sore to completely heal.
In order to implement these treatment measures, the facility will need to have adequate staffing levels in order to reposition patients, clean and change their dressings, and maintain the resident’s nutrition and hydration. Adequate staffing levels comprised of qualified and trained nursing staff are not only important to prevent the development of bed sores, but to prevent any existing sores from worsening in severity. Bed sores are highly preventable. As such, the development of bed sores is often an indication of elder abuse and neglect.
If you believe your loved one has suffered from severe, yet preventable, bed sores while in the custody of a nursing home in California, or if you believe a nursing home facility has failed to administer proper care to prevent or treat bed sores, we encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation.