There are many types of injuries that a loved one may experience during their time in a nursing home. One of the most common injuries that an elderly person may experience is a bedsore. This injury can occur due to the neglect of a nursing home employee or home health aide is. It is important that you understand what a bedsore is so that you can prevent it. If you fear that your loved one has a bedsore, this information can help you diagnose the problem.

Bedsores

One of the most common forms of injury that a person can sustain in a nursing home is a bedsore. This is also known as a pressure sore. A bedsore is an injury to skin and tissue underneath skin caused by extensive pressure on a part of the body. Bedsores generally develop when a person does not move for long periods of time. If nursing home employees neglect residents, bedsores are a common development. Bedsores commonly develop in areas such as:

  • Ankles.
  • Heels.
  • Tailbone.
  • Spine.
  • Shoulder Blades.
  • Elbows.
  • Hips.

These body parts are common areas where bedsores develop. This is because there isn’t a lot of fat or muscle to protect the bone from pressure.

How Bedsores Form

When the body experiences pressure with no relief, blood flow to tissue and skin is limited. When this happens, tissue and skin cells will become damaged and can eventually die. Friction can aggravate or worsen a bedsore. This may occur when your loved one tries to move or a care provider attempts to move your parent. Another factor in nursing homes that contribute to bedsores is known as shear. Shear is when two forces are moving in opposite directions. For example, in a hospital bed that gets elevated, your loved one might begin slipping. Your loved one’s skin will start pulling in a downward direction, but the bones will stay put. This force can create a bedsore.

Some residents are at higher risk for bedsores than others. Individuals whose physical health limits their mobility and ability to change positions. Bedsores occur in several stages and are characterized based on their severity.

Stages

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.

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.

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.

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.

Unstable– the wound crusts over and is either yellow, red or black in color with no way to see how deep the wound is.

Bedsore Causes

Bedsores are common in nursing homes. This is sometimes due to the inattention of nurses and other staff members. If residents are not consistently cared for, bedsores can develop. Residents should be moved, stretched out, and allowed to walk to prevent this issue. The consequences of this ailment can be minor or severe. They range from discomfort and pain, to something as serious as death. This is because bedsores that are left untreated for long periods of time can become infected. This can weaken your loved one’s immune system. Ulcer infections and bone infections can be serious. You should be constantly checking in on your loved one to make sure that bedsores don’t develop. If bedsores do develop, you need to find out immediately. This will prevent them from worsening and impacting your loved one’s health.

You should talk with your loved one about the type of treatment and assistance that they are receiving. If you learn that your loved one is left unattended for long periods of time, a bedsore might develop. Or, if your loved one does not have access to regular exercise or movement, a bedsore might develop. If you suspect that your loved one has a bedsore, look for common symptoms. These include ulcers, scabs, redness, swelling, pain, bleeding, etc. If you notice any of these issues, seek professional help immediately. If you are vigilant and notice a bedsore when it is in stage one or stage two, you can stop it from becoming worse. Get your loved one the help that they need as soon as you can.