Bedsores can be a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | nursing home negligence

Bedsores are serious injuries that may occur in nursing homes. They involve damage to skin and sometimes the tissues under the skin. These are sometimes referred to as pressure ulcers and are the result of prolonged pressure on the area.

Individuals who need assistance moving, including those who are bedridden, are at an increased risk of bedsores. These injuries can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat.

Risk factors for bedsores

Bedsores are caused by several factors, including long-term pressure, friction and shear. Blood flow is negatively impacted when there’s pressure on the skin. Without enough blood, the skin and nearby tissues are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, leading to tissue damage or death.

Skin rubbing against bedding or clothing causes friction, which can contribute to bedsores. Shear occurs if the underlying bone and skin move in different directions. This causes damage to the skin, which can also contribute to bedsores.

Moisture from sweating or incontinence can also contribute to skin breakdown, making it more susceptible to damage. Preventing bedsores involves regularly changing positions, maintaining good skin hygiene and using support surfaces like mattresses or cushions designed to reduce pressure.

Characteristics of bedsores

The severity of bedsores ranges from minor irritation to severe damage that goes into the bone and muscle. Bedsores are divided into stages, which are numbered 1 through 4. In stage 1, the skin appears red and may feel warm, with the area possibly itching or burning. By stage 4, significant tissue loss exposes muscle or bone, and a foul odor may accompany the sore. The depth and severity of the sore dictate the treatment and management strategies.

Complications that may arise with bedsores

The complications associated with bedsores can be severe and, in some cases, life-threatening. Infections are a common complication, with the damaged tissue becoming an entry point for bacteria. Cellulitis, a severe skin infection and connected soft tissues, can also occur. In more severe cases, the infection can spread to the bone or into the bloodstream.

Victims of bedsores need urgent medical care. They may also opt to pursue legal action to compensate them for financial damages related to their injuries, in the event that they developed due to the neglect of a nursing facility or care giver. Legal guidance may be beneficial so that victims understand their rights and have adequate support as their cases evolve.