Updated February 20, 2020

Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse can be difficult to identify—and equally difficult to discuss with your elderly loved one. Bedsores are one warning sign of neglect.

You can help keep them safe by understanding the risk factors and symptoms of bedsores as well as making sure their nursing home or care facility is prepared to prevent these skin injuries.

Are Bedsores a Serious Skin Issue?

Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers. According to the Mayo Clinic, they are described as injuries to skin tissue due to prolonged pressure.

Bedsores can develop quickly and lead to serious complications. Most heal with treatment, but some never heal completely.

Causes of Bedsores

Since they are primarily caused by immobility, bedsores are often found on people who cannot change positions easily or spend most of their time in a bed or chair. Elderly people who are bedridden or confined to wheelchairs are especially at risk.

Other risk factors include poor nutrition, a lack of adequate hydration, and sensory deprivation.

Bedsore Symptoms

Symptoms of developing bedsores include the following:

  • Unusual changes in skin texture or color, such as reddish or discolored skin
  • Swelling or blisters
  • Open wounds, irritated skin, or pus-like drainage
  • Tender skin
  • Skin that feels warmer or cooler to the touch than other areas

Bedsores often develop on the heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone. Be on the lookout for symptoms on those skin areas.

How can Elder Care Facilities Prevent Bedsores?

Nursing home attendants should be thoroughly educated on the warning signs of bedsores and familiar with how to prevent them.

While nutrition, hydration, and overall proper care go a long way, there are two primary methods of preventing bedsores: readjustments and skin assessments.

Position readjustments and changes should be conducted as often as necessary, usually around every fifteen minutes to an hour. Head-to-toe skin checks should also be preformed regularly to check for signs of developing bedsores.

Are Unexplained Bedsores a Sign of Neglect?

Bedsores are often a sign of nursing home or caregiver neglect. They are usually preventable, so the presence of bedsores implies a lack of adequate care.

If you suspect that an elderly person has bedsores, ask these questions to the staff members and attendants:

  • Why aren’t you getting them up regularly?
  • Why are they spending so much time in one position?
  • How often are they being rotated?
  • How often did their doctor indicate they should be rotated?

Unsatisfactory answers, or a lack of communication at all, are strong indicators of neglect.

Contact a Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorney Today

If you suspect your elderly loved one has bedsores or other injuries due to nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help your family get the compensation you deserve.

Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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