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Do bedsores indicate nursing home neglect?

Modern medicine may mean that people in Alabama live longer than their ancestors. However, the constant care an aging family member needs may have led you to help him or her choose and move into a nursing home. The loss of mobility is of particular concern when it comes to health problems that require frequent attention because being unable to move increases the risk of bedsores.

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress against the skin causes the injury known as pressure sores. If your family member is unable to move without assistance, staff should change the position in the bed or chair at least every two hours. Medical problems affecting blood flow can cause a higher risk of pressure sores, so you may want to inform staff if more frequent repositioning is necessary.

This type of wound could be a result of a being shifted improperly, so that the skin is trapped between the bones and the bed during the movement. A sore could also develop if a person is not moved at all because the pressure of the bones against the skin can cause tissue damage.

If incontinence is a problem, you should know that there is an even higher risk of sores because damp skin injures more easily. So does overly dry skin, so poor hydration and nutrition also increase the likelihood of pressure ulcers. A bedsore could lead to the spread of bacteria and infection, and permanent or fatal damage to internal organs, joints and bones is possible.

Those who work in nursing homes should be aware of their role in preventing bedsores. If you discover one, informing the health care providers and aides to its presence is an important step in preventing more serious issues. It could also be a signal that you need to watch for signs of neglect or abuse. This information may be of use in ensuring a family member’s health and safety. However, it is not intended to be taken as legal advice.

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