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How to Prevent Bedsores in Nursing Homes

Medical worker with senior woman in nursing home

Bedsores are uncomfortable, unsanitary, and dangerous skin lesions that people may develop if they are immobile for too long over an extended period. Bedsores are preventable with proper care and should not happen. If your loved one is a resident in a nursing home or other long-term care facility and you discover that they have bedsores, the nursing home is likely guilty of abuse or neglect. Continue reading to learn about how nursing homes should be treating patients to avoid bedsores, and contact a seasoned New Jersey nursing home neglect lawyer if you suspect that a nursing home is abusing or neglecting your loved one.

What causes bedsores?

Bedsores, also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are wounds that arise when skin is exposed to excessive force over a long period. They often develop on bony areas that receive pressure, such as the hips, tailbone, back, heels, and ankles.

Bedsores can occur when a resident spends an extended time in one position, whether sitting on a couch or wheelchair or lying in bed. The more days in a row that a resident spends an extended time in the same position, particularly if the position is putting pressure on their skin, if their clothes are moist, or if the patient is underfed, the more likely bedsores are to develop.

Bedsores can also develop when a particular area of skin is exposed to repeated friction, such as if a resident’s skin is regularly dragged across a rough surface.

What causes bedsores?

Bedsores, also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are wounds that arise when skin is exposed to excessive force over a long period. They often develop on bony areas that receive pressure, such as the hips, tailbone, back, heels, and ankles.

Bedsores can occur when a resident spends an extended time in one position, whether sitting on a couch or wheelchair or lying in bed. The more days in a row that a resident spends an extended time in the same position, particularly if the position is putting pressure on their skin, if their clothes are moist, or if the patient is underfed, the more likely bedsores are to develop.

Bedsores can also develop when a particular area of skin is exposed to repeated friction, such as if a resident’s skin is regularly dragged across a rough surface.

What should nursing homes do to prevent bedsores?

Nursing home caregivers should know how to prevent bedsores from developing. Nurses and staff can prevent bedsores, even on immobile or disabled residents, by performing a variety of tasks, including:

Repositioning, relocating, or offloading residents;
Turning residents to lie at a 30-degree angle to reduce pressure on vulnerable areas;
Employing devices designed to reduce pressure, such as pillows, padding, or inflatable donuts;
Keeping residents in fresh, dry clothing and bedding; and
Checking on residents regularly and thoroughly, particularly residents who are at high risk of developing bedsores.
These are not complicated procedures. Any qualified, dedicated nursing home staff member knows to perform these tasks and should be doing so regularly.

Can I sue a nursing home if my loved one has bedsores?

Bedsores are a strong indicator of nursing home negligence or abuse. Bedsores occur when patients who lack mobility are left alone for long periods without proper care. Any qualified nurse should know what treatments disabled or immobilized patients and residents need to prevent bedsores. Failing to perform these tasks is unacceptable.

Moreover, bedsores can be exacerbated if the nursing home fails to adequately provide food and water, leading to malnourishment, or if the staff continually moves the resident in a rough manner. Any of these circumstances constitutes neglect at best, and abuse at worst.

If you see that your loved one has bedsores on their body, there is a good chance that the home is neglecting or abusing the residents. You should contact a nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer immediately to help investigate the home and ensure that your family member is getting the proper treatment and care. If you and your attorney do find neglect and abuse in the home, you can and should file legal claims.

If you or someone you love has been subjected to abuse or negligent care in a New Jersey nursing home, contact the experienced and dedicated Hamilton nursing home negligence attorneys at Lance Brown & Associates at 609-587-5100.

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