Let us say that your mother has been a nursing home resident for almost a year. In most respects, you feel satisfied with the care she receives.
However, she is frail, spends a good deal of time in bed and requires a wheelchair to get around. You have heard about the dangers of bedsores. Is the nursing home staff on top of this issue?
Unrelieved pressure at various contact points on the body such as the tailbone, hips or heels can result in a bedsore, also known as a pressure sore or pressure ulcer. There are four stages of bedsores, from basic redness in the area to an open wound that can invade muscles, tendons and bones. Stage II is the most common form, where a blister or abrasion indicates a breach in the top layer of skin.
Those at risk
Although bedsores can affect people of any age who are immobile for an extended period or who have disabilities that impede movement, elderly nursing home patients are most at risk. Nursing home staff should reposition residents prone to bedsores every two hours, but in some cases, these facilities do not have enough caregivers to look after residents properly. Without sufficient attention given to the issue, the severity of existing bedsores could increase, and the resident may require immediate hospital care.
A look at complications
In the early stages, bedsores may draw little concern because they do not look dangerous. However, if allowed to develop, a bedsore can cause serious complications. The skin at the pressure point can decay rapidly, as well as the muscle and tendon structure beneath. A pressure sore that once looked minor could become lethal.
The high cost of treatment
Because of the acute care required and the slow healing process, the hospital stay for a bedsore patient can be lengthy and expensive. Keep in mind that such situations often begin due to lack of proper treatment. Perhaps it is time for you to discuss bedsore concerns with the staff at your Mom’s nursing home and brush up on the legal options available to hold the facility accountable in the event a bedsore issue develops.