When individuals can no longer take care of themselves due to an illness, injury or old age, nursing home care is often essential. Unfortunately, too often care facilities are understaffed or have issues with caregivers who do not have the time, resources or training to provide the attention needed for residents who may be bedridden.
Daily, attentive care may be necessary to prevent one of the most common and potentially deadly issues that individuals who cannot move on their own face: the development of painful bedsores that may invite bacterial infections and other severe medical complications.
How do bedsores develop?
Another term for a bedsore is a “pressure ulcer.” Bedridden or immobile individuals often spend so much time in one position that the pressure of their bodies against a bed, wheelchair or medical device cuts off the flow of blood to the skin in certain areas. This can result in painful localized swelling. Left untreated, the skin may tear or break, leading to painful, open sores.
Why are bedsores so dangerous?
Once a bedsore has progressed to the point of a break in the skin, there may be a high risk of bacterial infection. In addition to blistering, pain and bruising, an advanced bedsore may cause severe damage to underlying tissue, including muscle, tendons and even bone.
How can caregivers prevent bedsores?
To prevent pressure ulcers, caretakers need to make sure to reposition patients frequently, keep vulnerable areas of the skin clean and dry, and provide proper nutrition and fluid intake.
Unfortunately, too often nursing home facilities lack the basic care procedures needed to prevent this simple yet potentially deadly condition. Residents and their families should know that, if a care facility fails to provide proper treatment, they may be able to pursue needed compensation under the law.