Miami, FL- When a family places their loved one in the care of a nursing home, they have the expectation that they will be cared for and they won’t suffer from unnecessary injuries. That isn’t always the case, and many elders and disabled people living in long term facilities suffer from bedsores, an injury that can be prevented with the proper care.

What is a Bedsore?

Medically, bedsores are known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. They are caused by continuous pressure on the skin and muscle tissue and a lack of adequate nutrition. In the early stages of a bedsore, the skin in the affected area will change color, often turning red, and the consistency of the underlying tissue will change often feeling firmer or “boggy,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The patient may also experience pain and itching.

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

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

What Causes Bedsores?

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 of they are not moved regularly. The constant pressure causes damage to the skin and underlying tissue.

Nursing homes can prevent these potentially deadly sores by moving patients regularly and providing them a nutritionally balanced diet. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide their patients with this rudimentary care.

In a recent national survey, 50 percent of nursing home workers admitted to neglecting a patient at least once in the past 12 months. This is a shocking revelation that demonstrates how rampant neglect is in nursing homes.

While not all bedsores are a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse, since some nursing home residents are prone to bedsores.  If bedsores occur frequently and are left untreated for too long, the family of the nursing home resident should be alarmed and bring the issue up with the facilities 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 authorities in their states such as Social Services. They should also consult with a nursing home attorney to determine if their loved one is being abused or neglected and whether they are eligible to seek compensation from the negligent facility.