Bed Sores: The Most Common Type of Nursing Home Abuse

January 13, 2017

Pressure Sores are Common in Nursing Homes

bed sore

While we might prefer to keep our elderly family members at home, there are times when they require care that we cannot provide. This means, that sometimes the best choice is a nursing home. One of the reasons we hesitate to use nursing homes is because we hear horror stories about how people are treated. This is why finding the right nursing home is so important. Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how careful we are, we find that our family member suffered from abuse. And one common type of nursing home abuse is a form of neglect which can cause bed sores.

What are Bed Sores?

Bed sores are wounds that we commonly find on victims in poorly run nursing homes. Also known as “pressure ulcers,”  these sores form as a result of long periods of pressure on the skin, such as when a bedridden person’s body constantly presses against the mattress in a bed. Over time, the skin can become so damaged that muscle, bone, or tendons can be exposed. The result can be serious infection and even death.

Where do Pressure Sores Form?

As noted, the areas where sores most commonly form are where the body is pressing against something such as a bed or wheelchair. As a result, we often see these wounds on:

  • Spine

    bed sores nursing home

    Check these common places for pressure ulcers.

  • Shoulder Blades
  • Tailbone
  • Hips
  • Heels and Ankles
  • Behind the Knees
  • Backs of Arms and Legs
  • Back or Sides of Head

It is up to the staff of each nursing home, to be sure that their patients are not developing painful and life-threatening pressure sores. Failure to do this can be a sign of neglect.

Preventing Bed Sores

Most bed sores are completely preventable. Once they do occur, with proper care, they can be stopped from advancing to a more dangerous stage.  It is the job of nursing home staff to take the correct steps to prevent prevent pressure ulcers from forming or becoming worse, if they do form.

  • Patients should be continuously assessed for bed sore risks. Those who are at an increased risk should be managed appropriately. This assessment should begin on day one and continue throughout the patient’s stay.
  • Nutrition and hydration are critical. Providing the patient with a balanced diet with plenty of nutrients and water will help to boost the immune system and decrease the chance of sores, as well as increase the speed of healing.
  • Re-positioning of patient. It is extremely important to frequently re-position the patient, so that the sore does not develop in the first place.
  • Use specialized mattresses which help wounds from forming by keeping pressure off the same parts of the body.
  • If sores do form, they must be treated properly. Frequent cleaning of any wounds that have formed.  In order to prevent infection and help healing if a wound has formed, the sore should be dressed and cleaned often.

What Should You Do if Your Loved One is Abused in a Nursing Home?

If you have noticed sores on your loved one, your family member may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect. Talk with the administrator of the home to address the problems. If the wound is open, report the abuse immediately to the head of the nursing home, as well as the National Center on Elder Abuse. Next, the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer might be necessary to get them the compensation for their injury.

We Can Help

At Lowenthal & Abrams, our lawyers are passionate about bringing justice to those abused or neglected in nursing homes. We understand how heartbreaking it is to trust someone to care for your loved one, and see them harmed, instead. If you believe that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, it is crucial that you get help immediately. Contact us, today, to speak with one of our dedicated attorneys, free of charge.






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