Moving a loved one into a nursing home requires an immense amount of trust, both in the doctors, nurses and other staff members as well as the care they give. However, bed sores could be an early indication that the health care professionals in the nursing home aren’t doing their jobs.
Bed sores might be a sign of abuse or neglect. If you’re suspicious about the nursing home’s conditions, or your family member has complained of mistreatment, please call Cullan & Cullan at (602) 786-8860.
Bed Sore Symptoms
Bed sores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers in the medical world, are injuries to the skin sustained from consistent pressure. The people most in danger of developing bed sores are those who are confined to one position (such as sitting or lying down) for long periods of time.
If left untreated, bedsores can become deep, penetrating flesh wounds which can lead to infection. The four stages of bed sore symptoms are:
- Stage I: Skin irritation, with the affected skin taking on a pink or red appearance
- Stage II: First sign of an open wound; the sore could behave like a blister
- Stage III: The wound will be deeper, exposing fat and tissue and potentially compromising healthy skin layers below the surface
- Stage IV: The wound will be very deep and could expose muscles and even bones; dead tissue can begin forming
Pain and risk of infection becomes more and more serious with each of these stages. The worst bedsores can lead to gangrene, which might require amputation to stop the spread of dead tissue.
Treating Bed Sores
The best treatment for bed sores is to stop them before irritated skin becomes an open wound. In cases of nursing home abuse and neglect, though, pressure ulcers and other suspicious injuries can result from the carelessness or callousness of the institution’s staff members.
When you visit your family member, be sure to ask about his or her health and the care staff members are providing, as well as diligently look for bed sores or other injuries. If your loved one tells you about open wounds or a lack of movement assistance, immediately consult a doctor to have the injury evaluated.
If a doctor determines that your family member has developed a bed sore, the following treatment might be necessary:
- Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants to help put your loved one at ease and begin the body’s healing process
- Cleaning and dressing early-stage wounds
- Hydrotherapy (Whirlpool bath to help clean wounds) and massage therapy
- In the most severe cases, dead tissue will have to be removed surgically from the site of the bed sore to prevent infection
Read more about Causes, Signs, and Stages of Bedsores or Pressure Ulcers
If you believe your elderly loved one is suffering from bed sores due to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, please contact Cullan & Cullan, today at (602) 786-8860 to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation.