Nursing home abuse is a heinous crime against seniors who cannot take care of themselves. It happens most often in nursing homes and when caregivers treat patients in their homes. There are many signs of abuse, including bruises and broken bones, but bedsores are also a sign and are often overlooked.
Understanding the Causes of Bedsores
When loved one is bed-bound, they are at a greater risk of developing bedsores because they cannot move from one position to another on their own. Nurses are advised to reposition these patients at least every two hours to prevent the patient from developing bedsores. They can also help some patients get into wheelchairs to give them a chance to sit in a more upright position.
Some padding for the bed or their wheelchair can improve pressure on the body and stop the bedsores from forming. It is also necessary for the patients to get baths frequently and keep their skin clean and dry. If the patient has a history of incontinence, the nurses must ensure the patient’s diapers are changed properly if they are soiled. The first sign of elder abuse is to find a loved one with bedsores, and the family will need to take action quickly.
Where Can Loved Ones Find Bedsores?
Patients that are staying in a nursing home are more likely to develop bedsores on the tailbone or hips, heels, shoulder blades, the back of their head, or on the back of their knees. The development of bedsores indicates the caregivers are not providing the appropriate standard of care for the patients and are allowing the patients to remain in the same position for too long. For patients who have conditions such as diabetes, bedsores increase the risk of an infection that could require treatment and hospitalization.
What Are the Symptoms of Bedsores?
The first stage of bedsores is red spots on the skin that are warm to the touch. The patient will complain about the pain and discomfort of the bedsores to their caregivers. If a patient complains to their loved ones about the discomfort, the chances are good the caregivers are not managing the patient’s care appropriately.
At stage two, the bedsores become blisters and may be discolored. Stage 3 bedsores will look like a crater and cause damage beneath the skin’s surface. At stage four, the sores will become quite large and could damage the muscles, bones, or tendons. At this stage, the bedsores are more likely to become infected.
At the onset of stage one bedsores, the caregiver must start strategies to prevent the bedsores and provide treatment for the patient. If the family discovers any bedsores that are beyond stage one, they should take their loved one to a doctor for treatment. Severe bedsores are a sign of elder abuse, and they must be reported. If the caregivers are allowing any bedsores to get to stage four, this is negligence and neglect and legal action is needed.
Abuse of a senior must be reported to the authorities, and families can take legal action against the administrators of a nursing home. Bedsores are a common sign of neglect and could lead to infections of the skin and muscles. Families that see signs of bedsores must take fast action to protect their loved ones.