There are many nursing homes in West Virginia that provide quality care to patients daily throughout the year. This is as it should be because there are state laws and accepted safety standards in place to ensure that staff are meeting patients’ needs in a safe and lawful manner. Although there are quality nursing facilities throughout the state, there are also many incidents of nursing negligence, which is why certain symptoms, like bed sores, should cause you concern.
Whether your loved one is mobile does not matter regarding bed sores. Even if a patient can get up and walk around, care providers must still make sure they are always safe and well. Especially in cases where a patient is immobile, staff members must implement measures to help them avoid pressure ulcers, which is the term commonly used in the nursing industry to describe bed sores.
Who is most at risk for bed sores?
Anyone who spends a lot of time in bed or sitting in a chair or wheelchair is at risk for pressure ulcers. The following list shows issues that create the greatest risk:
- Being underweight
- Too much time in one position
All licensed caregivers are aware of these issues and should have received training to help patients avoid bed sores. If you know that your loved one is high-risk for pressure ulcers, you might consider meeting with his or her care providers to ask how they plan to prevent them.
Suspect nursing negligence if you see sores on these areas of the body
Pressure ulcers occur because of friction. Such sores typically occur when material like clothing or bed linen rubs against the skin. If you notice sores in these areas of your loved one’s body, it merits further investigation:
- Behind the knees
- In the folds of the elbow
- On the ears
- At the small of the back near the tailbone
- On the shoulders or in the shoulder blade area
- On the hips
- At the heel or ankle
Bed sores in these areas may appear as red marks or like an open wound that is scabbing over. If there is puss oozing from a sore or a foul odor, it suggests that a sore is infected, which can quickly become a life-threatening situation for an elderly person.
Holding caregivers accountable for nursing negligence
It doesn’t matter how understaffed or overworked the caregivers at your loved one’s nursing home might be. There is never a justifiable reason for nursing negligence. Bed sores can cause potentially serious health problems. Do not let anyone tell you that pressure ulcers are a “normal part” of life in a nursing home. That is not true. They are almost always a sign of substandard care.