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Nursing home neglect can cause bed sores

If you sit or lie in the same position for an extended period of time, your body might start to feel sore. If you then try to stand up, your back or leg muscles might ache. You might also notice red marks on your legs or arm in an area where there was pressure applied while you were stationary. Now, think what might happen if nursing home neglect is an issue in the West Virginia facility where your aging parent resides.

Mobility is one of the key factors in avoiding bed sores, which are ulcers that can erupt on the skin when constant pressure and friction exists on a particular part of the body, either for an extended period of time or repeatedly. The nursing staff where your loved one lives is no doubt well aware of how to prevent bed sores. This is why you should be concerned if you notice such injuries on your loved one’s body.

Most common areas of the body for bed sores to form

If part of the body is resting against a cloth material, there’s pressure and friction applied to the soft tissues of the skin. In time, this can cause damage to skin tissues, resulting in decubitus ulcers, commonly referred to as “bed sores.” The following list shows the areas of the body that are most vulnerable to such injuries:

  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Ears
  • Lower back
  • Heels and tops of feet
  • Shoulders

If your loved one has to lie or sit in the same position for too long, other areas of his or her body, such as the back of the head or elbows, are also at risk for bed sores.

Bed sores are prone to infection

You might think that bed sores are simply small abrasions that are minor injuries and not seriously harmful in any way. However, skin ulcers are quite prone to infection. If your loved one is in his or her later years in life or has compromised health, a minor infection could quickly become a life-threatening situation.

Symptoms of infection typically include inflammation at the site of the injury, surrounding skin near the sore that is warm to the touch, greenish or foul-smelling pus oozing from the wound or fever. If your loved one has a bed sore and develops any of these symptoms, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.

Nursing home protocol helps care providers prevent bed sores

Especially if your loved one is unable to move around independently, the nursing staff should be helping him or her to change positions every couple of hours. They can also place pillows behind the knees or under the feet, etc., to reduce pressure and friction against the mattress and bed sheets. Caretakers in a nursing home are also specially trained to know how to minimize risk for bed sores by lifting and moving them in certain ways.

Nursing home care providers are also aware of numerous factors that increase the risk of developing bed sores, such as advanced age, poor nutrition, moisture from sweat, urine or feces, and certain chronic conditions such as heart disease. Sadly, approximately 30% of nursing home patients in West Virginia and across the country suffer from bed sores resulting from nursing neglect. If your loved one suffers from bed sores or other injuries because of substandard care, you can take steps to seek restitution for damages.

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