Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are a common problem for nursing home residents who are confined to a bed or a wheelchair for extended periods of time. In many cases, bedsores are a sign of nursing home neglect, which can have serious consequences for the health and well-being of residents.
What are bedsores?
Bedsores are a type of skin and tissue damage that occurs when a person remains in the same position for extended periods of time. They typically occur in areas of the body where the skin and tissues are in direct contact with the bed or chair, such as the back, buttocks, hips and heels. Bedsores can range in severity from minor skin irritation to deep tissue damage and infection.
Causes and risk factors
Pressure applied to the skin can cause damage to the underlying tissues and reduce blood flow to the area, which can lead to tissue death and infection. Several risk factors contribute to the likelihood of bedsores.
In addition to being confined to a bed or a wheelchair for extended periods of time, having a medical condition that affects blood flow or skin health, such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease, can cause bedsores. Being malnourished or dehydrated as well as having limited mobility or sensation can also contribute to the condition. Incontinence and poor hygiene or skin care are common causes of bedsores in cases of neglect.
Preventing and addressing bedsores and nursing home negligence requires a multi-faceted approach that involves residents, families, nursing home staff and regulatory agencies. Measures that can reduce neglect in nursing homes include educating nursing home staff and residents about the risks and prevention of bedsores, providing training for nursing home staff on proper care and prevention of the condition and ensuring that residents receive regular repositioning, hygiene and skin care.
Encouraging family members to be involved in the care of their loved ones in nursing homes can increase the chance of uncovering nursing home neglect while monitoring nursing homes for signs of improper care and taking action when necessary can keep residents safe.
Nursing home residents deserve proper care
Bedsores and nursing home neglect are serious issues that can have serious consequences for nursing home residents. Taking steps to prevent and address these problems can improve the quality of care and protect the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals in nursing homes.