Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or skin ulcers, are a skin condition that results from putting pressure on a specific part of the body for a long period of time, depriving the area of blood flow, circulation and oxygen. They are most commonly found on the bony areas of the body because blood flow is restricted in those areas and can be completely cut off with sustained pressure. Cutting off the flow of blood for more than two hours will cause skin to die.
The sore begins with redness and irritation. If pressure continues, the sore will form a scab. With continued pressure, the sore will worsen and may bleed. Even friction between the skin and an article of clothing or bedsheets can create bedsores if the skin is very tender. The longer the condition persists, the worse the outcome will be and may lead to infection, amputation or death.
Preventing bedsores with bed-bound patients is challenging. The resident’s body weight constantly exerts pressure on parts of the skin that are in contact with the bed. Residents in nursing home facilities should be urged to move as much as their condition allows. If they are bedridden, staff must adjust the resident’s position on a consistent basis or move them to a wheelchair when possible. If the resident cannot leave his or her bed, the staff must massage them frequently or provide some form of physical therapy to prevent the muscles from atrophying and to stop the formation of bedsores.
Other methods of prevention are keeping the resident and bed linens very clean at all times, inspecting the resident for the development of any skin condition, inserting gel or foam pads into the bedding for more cushioning in sensitive areas, electronic beds that rise and lower easily, and investing in beds that automatically control pressure on the skin such as special air mattresses or alternating pressure mattresses. Residents who eat nutritiously, stay hydrated and take vitamins are less at risk than patients who are not eating the right foods or drinking enough water.
Bedsores always indicate that neglect has occurred. The staff, management and administration are 100% responsible for the development of bedsores. Once the immediate situation has stabilized, the best course of action is to call an attorney who has experience in handling nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits.
If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home or has become injured due to the nursing home’s violation of the duty of care in New Jersey, call the caring and experienced nusing home abuse attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP NY. We have been helping nursing home victims of abuse and neglect for decades and we will help you too.