There are many common injuries that your loved one could get exposed to when they are in a nursing home. You are going to want to know what these are and how they can affect your loved one. Here, these injuries will all be explained. This will give you a better idea of what could happen while you are not around to watch out for your loved one.
Bedsores or pressure sores are injuries to the tissue on the body. They occur from underlying pressure on one part of the body for an extended period of time. They often occur on parts of the body that do not contain much fat or muscle. This means they occur on bony parts of the body such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. Those at the highest risk for bedsores have physical issue that limit their mobility. Bedsores occur in several stages and get characterized based on their severity.
In stage one there is no skin broken, but the area in question appears to be a lighter pink or reddish color. It may be warm or cool to the touch and painful for the individual who is being affected.
In stage two the outer layer(s) of skin are lost. It may resemble a fluid filled blister and will appear like a shallow wound. It will be painful to the touch.
In stage three the wound is so deep that fat gets exposed. It will resemble a crater and may have some yellow discoloring in the deeper parts.
In stage four the wound may now be so deep that it exposes muscle, tendons, or bones. The inner circle will contain dead tissue that is black or yellow in color.
A bedsore can also be unstable. The wound is crusted over and is either yellow, red, or black in color with no way to see how deep the wound is.
Inadequate nutrition and fluids cause malnutrition and dehydration. Either of these extreme conditions can lead to confusion, muscle weakness, and immobility. Other issues include falls, pressure ulcers, pneumonia, and a weak immune system. The side effects of malnutrition include:
- Dull eyes.
- Pale skin.
- Poor skin elasticity.
- Disorientation or confusion.
- Swollen legs and arms.
- Swollen lips or gums.
- Dry mouth.
- Thinning hair.
- Unexplainable weight loss.
- Wounds that take longer than normal to heal.
The side effects of dehydration include:
- Cold, clammy, hot, or unusually dry skin.
- Dry mouth and sticky saliva.
- Eyes that do not tear.
- Increased or extreme thirst.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Reduced urine output.
- Repeated infection.
- Severe vomiting.
- Weak rapid pulse and fever.
Choking results from food or medication entering the windpipe instead or the esophagus. It can be a result of force-feeding. Choking in residents can occur for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
- Neurological damage causes by strokes or spinal cord injuries.
- Cancer treatments such as radiation.
- Aging resulting in weakening in the neck muscles.
Wandering occurs when a nursing home resident walks with no particular purpose. For patients who need supervision when walking around this can be especially dangerous.
Physical restraint should only be used on residents when directed by a doctor. Common physical restraints include belts, vests, soft ties, and hand mitts. Other examples are specialized chairs, lap cushions, and bed rails. Physical restraint can be uncomfortable or damaging to elderly people. It can result in bruising and red marks on the individual’s skin. Physical restraint should not be used for the wrong reasons, if it is it can cause serious harm.
Falls in nursing homes can lead to serious injuries or even death. Falling can be a sign of other health problems to the individual. Falls can happen due to tripping or when a person can’t support themselves.
Medication errors are errors in ordering, giving, measuring, or recoding medication. This is a serious mistake. It can result in the discomfort of a patient or have more serious consequences. A patient may result in serious injury or death by being over or under medicated.
Sepsis is a serious medical condition that entails inflammation of the body. This is generally caused by an infection. Sometimes, chemicals are released from the body to fight infections. This can be a deadly condition. So, it’s vital that nursing home staff catch it early. This will increase the individual’s change of survival.
Chemical restraint means using a drug to limit or stop a resident’s mobility. It is illegal for staff to administer chemical restraints without a doctor prescription. It may only be used when a person is in serious danger of harming themselves.
These injuries could happen to your loved one if you decide to put them in a nursing home. Now that you know about each type, you will be able to keep a better look out. You can make sure that they are not happening to your loved one. If they happen, you need to take action to make sure it gets stopped.