Bedsores may not seem to be a serious condition, but they can be fatal. Bedsores, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers can happen very easily in elderly or disabled people. They are caused by too much pressure being put on the skin for a long period. However, they are preventable so when they develop; it is a sign that the person has not had enough attention paid to their health and comfort. Bedsores are elder abuse.
The most common causes of bedsores are:
- Unchanged diapers
- Wet clothing (including sheets)
Many elderly or disabled have problems with mobility, and might even be bedridden, so it is important they be turned regularly, their diapers are changed frequently, and they are given proper nutrition. It is the responsibility of the nursing home or hospital staff to make sure they are being attentive to the needs of those in their care.
The most common places for bedsores to appear are those areas that have the most pressure on them, such as, the tailbone, shoulder blades, heels, and elbows. Modern medical advances have produced many products that are available for relieving these pressure points. Air mattresses and air cushions can be very beneficial to anyone at risk of developing bedsores. Those with little or no mobility must also be turned at least every two hours to take the pressure off these vulnerable areas of the body.
However, recent medical advances are worthless if the caregivers do not use them or do not adhere to proper standards of care that the elderly and disabled require.There are individuals who suffer from other conditions that might make bedsore prevention nearly impossible, but that is not the case for the majority of bedsores that developed. Most bedsores are a result of lack of care and concern by the staff, which has a duty to care.
What Can A Family Do When Bedsore Injuries Happen?
Of course, the best scenario is to prevent bedsores from developing. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for many elderly, disabled, and their families. All too often, elderly and disabled people lose their ability to be heard. They are entrusted to the care of a nursing home or hospital when the family cannot provide the specialized care they need. There are things the family can do to make sure their loved one is properly cared for, being proactive is the most important. Here are several things to watch for and report to the persons in charge:
- Know and document the skin condition of the person before they went into the nursing home or hospital.
- Note all current medical conditions the person has.
- Note any or all-medical devices that are used to assist the person, such as air mattresses and padding.
- Note if clothes are generally clean and dry.
- Note if diapers are changed regularly.
- Note when bedsores develop: how long after the person was admitted, what is being done to help them or prevent them from becoming worse.
If you suspect your loved one is not receiving the quality care they deserve, contact the attorneys at W.T. Johnson today to set up a consultation.