Many people in San Francisco might assume that caring for a loved one with limited mobility would be easy. However, those confined to a bed or wheelchair present their own set of challenges when it comes to activity and movement. When one entrusts the care of such an individual to a nursing home or long-term care facility, one basic expectation is that such a facility has the capacity to deal with those challenges.
Yet having the capacity does not always translate into results, as many often see with patients who have mobility issues. Indeed, pressure ulcers (more commonly known as “bedsores”) remain a common complaint behind nursing home neglect cases.
What are bedsores?
Bedsores occur when pressure remains on a certain area of the skin for a prolonged period, which limits blood flow to the affected area and can result in skin or tissue damage. Per John Hopkins Medicine, the development of bedsores progresses as follows:
- Stage 1: The skin around the affected area darkens, causing pain and irritation
- Stage 2: Skin discoloration deepens and open sores begin to form
- Stage 3: Skin begins to crater as underlying tissue sustains damage
- Stage 4: Large, dark wound forms and infection becomes a concern
Damage caused by bedsores can lead to limb amputation and (in severe cases) death.
Preventing pressure ulcers
According to the Mayo Clinic, common areas affected by bedsores include the back, tailbone, buttocks, shoulder blades, heels, and ankles. Not coincidentally, these are many of the same areas under pressure from constantly sitting in a wheelchair or lying in a bed. Yet bedsores are easily preventable through assisted movements. Their presence may indicate that those charged with assisting patients with their daily movements and activities have not regularly performed those duties.