Elderly people who rely on nursing home staff for their care depend on them for more than meals and medication. They may also rely on staff to make sure that they remain clean, are properly hydrated and are repositioned regularly. When people in long term care do not receive the assistance they need, they may experience a variety of injuries, including bedsores.
What should you know about bedsores, their causes and how they might impact your aging loved ones?
What are bedsores?
Bedsores — also called “pressure ulcers” — are injuries that result from pressure on the skin. In their early stages, these injuries redden the skin. However, more severe injuries break the skin and can even damage the fat, muscle or even bone beneath.
Not only are these injuries painful, the Mayo Clinic notes that they can lead to further complications if left untreated. Cellulitis or infections in the bones and joints can do further damage. In addition, these wounds can lead to sepsis or even cancer. These injuries can even be deadly.
How might neglect cause bedsores?
Bedsores can occur any time one area of the body experiences pressure for an extended period. This means that elderly people who spend long hours in their bed or in a wheelchair are particularly at risk, and caregivers should reposition them periodically to prevent these injuries. Incontinence and medical conditions that impact a person’s blood flow — challenges that impact many elderly people in care facilities — can also increase the risk of bedsores.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to help residents keep themselves and their surroundings clean and dry, to ensure that they receive the food and water that they need and assist them with their mobility challenges. If they do not uphold their responsibility to care for residents, that neglect can put residents at risk of developing bedsores and endanger their health.
If your elderly loved one experiences bedsores, these injuries could be a sign of neglect in their care facility. You may want to explore your options so that you can address those concerns and protect the safety of your loved one.