Bedsores, which are also referred to as pressure ulcers “usually develop over bony prominences, such as the elbow, heel, hip, shoulder, back and the back of the head” and are extremely common among nursing home residents [Source: National Center for Health Statistics]. A bed sore can range in severity and this is determined by the depth of the soft tissue damage. Doctors and nurses use this to classify it into one of four stages. For instance, a stage one bed sore would appear as persistent redness on an area of the skin and a resident with a stage two bed sore would experience a “loss of partial thickness of skin appearing as an abrasion, blister, or shallow crater.” A stage three bed sore would appear as “a loss of full thickness of skin, presented as a deep crater” and stage four sores would appear as “a loss of full thickness of skin exposing muscle or bone.”
When left untreated, a bed sore can lead to severe complications and put an aging individual’s life in jeopardy. Unfortunately, many residents living in nursing homes all across the U.S. are prone to developing them when they:
- Experience a significant weight loss. The source highlighted that “one in five nursing home residents with a recent weight loss had pressure ulcers.”
- Are highly immobile.
- Take more than eight medications.
[Source: National Center for Health Statistics].
Therefore, if you have a loved one living in a nursing home facility in New York, NY and want to learn about how bedsores can be prevented, read on as we are sharing with you a few ways this can be accomplished.
- A resident who is immobile and unable to move about freely on their own needs to be repositioned consistently throughout the day so that they aren’t applying pressure on the same area over an extended period of time. If the staff fails to do this, the chances of them developing a bed sore are rather high. Some other tips for repositioning include:
- Having your loved one shift their weight frequently. Whether they use a wheelchair or find themselves sitting their bed, they should move at least every 15 minutes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- They can do wheelchair pushups where they raise their body off the seat by pushing on the arms of the wheelchair.
- Consider purchasing a specialty wheelchair for your loved one that can actually tilt and help relieve pressure on certain areas of the body.
- Be sure they are using cushions or mattresses that relieves pressure. If the facility does not have a suitable cushion or mattress for them, consider purchasing one on your own.
- Residents need to be following a consistent diet that contains lots of fluids and foods that contain enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals that meet their daily intake requirements. Without the proper nutrition and hydration, there is an increase in the breakdown of tissues.
- A resident’s skin should be inspected daily and kept clean and dry. It can also be protected by using plain talcum power to protect against friction which is known to cause bed sores.
As we mentioned above, bed sores must be treated immediately after they develop to help prevent them from worsening. Nurses will need to apply the proper wound care depending on the stage the sore is in. If you find that your loved one isn’t receiving the required care to help treat their bed sore, it is important that you bring this to the attention of the head nurse. And if their condition continues to worsen, it may be a sign your loved one is being neglected and not receiving the proper care that they should be.
Aside from residents being prone to developing bed sores, many of them are also the victims of abuse and neglect. And if you suspect that your elderly relative is the victim of either one, you are encouraged to contact USAttorneys.com today. We will get you connected with a nursing home neglect lawyer in New York, NY who can answer any questions you might have as well as provide you with the help you might need right now.