What you should know about bedsores

There’s no one demographic group that resides in a nursing home. Some residents live there because they suffer from a cognitive disorder and require 24-hour monitoring to ensure their safety. Others may reside there because they’re immobile and thus need dedicated care-giving. These are only two of many reasons someone may end up living in a nursing home. Under California Law, both elderly and disabled person residing in nursing homes are in a protected class.

Families often spend a lot of time thinking about whether it’s appropriate to move their loved ones to a nursing home before ultimately doing so. One detail that weighs heavily in their minds is whether they’ll get the care they need. One result of inadequate care can be dangerous pressure sores or bedsores.

What are bedsores?

The terms bedsore and pressure sore are interchangeable. It’s a type of ulcer that forms on the skin after someone lies in the same position in a bed or sits in the same position in a wheelchair for far too long. Individuals who are unconscious, impervious to pain or bedridden often suffer these injuries along their shoulder blades, heels, the rear portion of their head, hips, buttocks or knees.

How do bedsores evolve?

Bedsores can deteriorate following a 4-step process:

  • Stage 1: There may be a red patch of skin that is painful
  • Stage 2: The intensity of the pain may increase as a blister, sore or scrape develops along the bedsore
  • Stage 3: It becomes evident that the bedsore has permeated down to deeper layers of the skin as it assumes a crater-like appearance
  • Stage 4: What started as a red spot on the skin has taken on a noticeably different appearance, which corresponds to the extent of the damage done to a person’s bones, tendons, muscles or joints.

The level of infection is at its most critical point during the fourth stage in the process described above.

Are bedsores preventable?

Yes. Caregivers of anyone prone to bedsores can prevent this injury by:

  • Adequately padding beds and wheelchairs
  • Practicing good skin hygiene
  • Moving a wheelchair-bound individual every 15 minutes
  • Repositioning the resident at least once every two hours
  • Administering adequate nutrition and supplements

Bedsores don’t just unexpectedly get worse. They worsen because the same neglectful behaviors go uncorrected. You might have a valid reason to file a claim against a nursing home if you discover that your loved one has developed bedsores.These bedsores often get infected causing serious health problems.