Bed Sores; Sign of Neglect in South Carolina Nursing Homes

Bedsore StagesGreenville, SC- There is a large number of nursing homes that offer their residents quality care, but some homes in South Carolina are woefully understaffed, causing the residents to suffer unnecessary injuries or emotional distress. One of the common injuries residents suffer is bedsores, which are completely preventable is a nursing home resident is given the care they need.

What is a Bedsore?

Medically, bedsores are known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. These types of injuries are caused when continuous pressure is applied to the skin and muscle tissue of an individual. It is most common for people who are bed-ridden or disabled and not capable of shifting their positions regularly. Malnutrition can also contribute to the development or bedsores.

In the early stages of a bedsore, the skin in the affected area will change color, often turning red causing the consistency of the underlying tissue changing; it may feel firmer or “boggy,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The resident may also experience pain and itching.

These sores have different stages and when left untreated for a prolonged period of time, they can be dangerous and even deadly. In the later stages of a bedsore, the skin and tissue will begin to die– called necrosis– causing the muscles, tissue and bones to become exposed. Without medical treatment, bedsores can become infected, and in extreme cases the infections can lead to the death of a patient.

Bony areas of the body such as the hips, lower back, knees and elbows are more prone to bedsores.

How Do Bedsores Develop?

Bedsores are caused when a nursing home resident is left to lie in the same position for too long. Patients who are paralyzed or are unable to move without assistance can easily develop bedsores when they are not moved regularly. The constant pressure on a specific are of the body will cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue.

Nursing homes can prevent these potentially deadly sores by moving a patient regularly and providing them with a nutritionally-balanced diet. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide their patients with this rudimentary care and neglect their needs. Some residents are left in the same position for hours on end.

Not all bedsores are a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse, because some nursing home residents are just prone to these injuries.  But if bedsores occur frequently, and are left untreated for too long, the family of the nursing home resident should be alarmed. They are urged to bring the issue up with the facility’s administrators. They should also monitor their loved one’s care, and make certain they are being properly cleaned and cared for. It is also important to ensure that the nursing home resident is getting the right nutrition.

If the family of a nursing home resident suspects that their loved one is being neglected or abused in a long term care facility, they should contact the proper South Carolina authorities. After notifying authorities, they should then contact a Greenville nursing home abuse attorney to see if they are eligible to seek compensation for their loved one.