Here’s what you need to know about them.
Many individuals who go to live in an assisted living facility such as a nursing home enter with medical conditions they have already been living with. However, some medical conditions can arise after an elderly individual is placed to live in a long-term care facility. It is important to understand what types of conditions your loved one is susceptible to and how to prevent them from developing these unhealthy conditions. Although there are several conditions you need to become aware of, today we are focusing on one in particular that is common among many nursing home residents, and that is bedsores.
What are bedsores and what causes them to develop?
A bed sore is an injury to the skin as well as underlying tissue that is caused by prolonged pressure being placed on an area of the body[Source: Mayo Clinic]. Bedsores will usually develop on bony areas such as the heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone. A person who is more at risk of developing a bedsore is someone who is limited in mobility and often struggles to change positions. Bedsores are common in nursing home residents who aren’t provided with the help they need to actually get out of bed, change positions, or make some type of adjustments just so the pressure can shift from one area of the body to another.
Bedsores are caused by various things which include:
- Pressure. When constant pressure is placed on any part of the body, it can reduce the blood flow to the tissues. Without a steady blood flow, less oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the tissues. And without these essential nutrients, the Mayo Clinic says the skin and nearby tissues become damaged and eventually die. When someone is immobile or limited in how much they can move, the pressure tends to build in areas that are less padded with fat, hence the reason bedsores develop in areas such as the hips, tailbone, spine, etc.
- Friction. When the skin is rubbed against clothing or bedding it can cause the skin to become more fragile and vulnerable to injury.
- Shear. The Mayo Clinic says “shear occurs when two surfaces move in the opposite direction.” For instance, if a person’s bed is elevated near their head, they may slide down and when the tailbone moves down, the skin over it might stay in place which would cause it to pull in the opposite direction.
While bedsores can develop at a rapid rate, residents generally get them when they are placed in the
same positions for extended periods of time. And if you have a loved one living in a nursing home facility in Louisville, KY or any other city, it is important for you to understand how serious bedsores can be if it is not treated promptly and effectively. The fact is, there are certain things staff members at these facilities should be doing to ensure a resident who requires assistance with moving doesn’t develop a bedsore.
Aside from shifting their position to getting them up and walking each and every day, bedsores are also linked to poor nutrition and hydration. In order to maintain healthy skin and avoid the breakdown of tissues, people need adequate amounts of fluids, calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals in their diet. And if a resident isn’t being given this in their meals or the treating nurse doesn’t ensure they eat, they could be losing out on these essential things that ultimately will increase the chance of a bedsore developing.
So, as a family member or friend of someone living in a nursing home, be sure you check on them regularly and confirm that they are being fed properly and are being given the opportunity to move about the facility frequently. If you suspect they are being neglected or mistreated, report your suspicions to the head nurse or consider contacting a Louisville, KY nursing home abuse lawyer. The attorneys at Murphy & Associates PLCin Louisville, KY are highlight qualified and can provide you with some suggestions on how to handle the matter. You will also want to consider removing them from the facility to ensure they are not subjected to any more abuse or neglect.
You can reach Murphy & Associates PLC at:
513 South Second Street
Louisville, KY 40202