Contrary to what the nursing home industry wants us to believe, bedsores can be prevented. A bedsore, also commonly referred to as a pressure ulcer or decubitus ulcer, is basically an injury to the underlying tissues of the skin. They most often occur when an individual remains in the same position for an extended period of time, creating prolonged pressure that affects the necessary blood flow and nutrients to the skin.
Residents in nursing homes are often at most risk because many of them have medical conditions that limit their ability to move. The necessary pressure to create a bedsore can result from sitting or lying for a prolonged period of time in the same position. People in wheelchairs often suffer from bedsores on the tailbone, spine, and the back of their arms or legs. For those that are bed-bound, they often occur on the heels, hips, ankles, shoulders or their head.
The number one key to prevention (and treatment) is relieving pressure. This can be accomplished most effectively by repositioning a person regularly, particularly once a bedsore has developed. A second strategy is to ensure the appropriate support surfaces are utilized. There are many types of special mattresses and cushions that are designed to relieve pressure.
Once you recognize a bedsore, you should contact your doctor immediately. Bedsores can often resolve with appropriate detection and treatment. Aside from relieving the pressure, your doctor will access the severity of the bedsore and likely consider removing any damaged tissue and/or cleaning and dressing the wound. It is also critical that a patient maintain nutrition and hydration to promote healthy skin tissues.
If you or a loved one reside in a nursing home, detection of the skin should be a routine part of care. Unfortunately, all too often we see patients that suffer from bedsores due to neglect or lack of an appropriate care plan. The following are just a few of the precautions and safety measures that should be taken to prevent the formation of bedsores:
• Periodic reassessment of the patient’s risk;
• Appropriate bathing routine;
• Constant nutrition and hydration;
• Repositioning to relieve pressure; and
• Use of appropriate support surfaces.
Walton Law, APC is a San Diego boutique law firm dedicated exclusively to representing injured parties in the areas of personal injury, nursing home abuse and neglect, and financial elder abuse. We only represent people – not insurance companies – and take pride in our reputation for obtaining full and fair compensation for our clients while providing personalized client service. If you believe somebody you know has been a victim of elder abuse in San Diego, CA, please call (866) 338-7079 or visit us online for a free and confidential consultation.