You may feel relieved when your loved one moves into a nursing home. Now you and other family members don’t have to constantly check in on them to ensure their safety.
Older adults living alone can become victims of crime. They could fall and go days before anyone discovers them. They might get confused and forget to pay their bills or take their medication on time. Living in a nursing home helps prevent all of those issues.
Your loved one has around-the-clock support from professionals and access to other older adults for socialization. Unfortunately, some older adults in nursing homes don’t receive the level of care that they should given their needs. Nursing home neglect can lead to many unfavorable outcomes for patients, including the development of bedsores. Learning the warning signs of bedsores can help you better protect a vulnerable family member.
Early bedsores are often just red marks
Medical professionals group bedsores into four stages. In the first stage, the bedsore only affects the skin. You may notice redness and inflammation in areas where someone’s body consistently touches their bed or chair. The back of the head, under the shoulders, the buttocks and the back of the heels are all common places for bed sores to develop on older adults.
Especially if someone consistently stays in the same position without rotation or cushioning, bedsores or pressure ulcers may develop and then slowly worsen. The Stage 1 inflammation of a bedsore can go away in a few days with movements, washing and proper nutrition. Otherwise, it will progress to Stage 2.
In the second stage, a bedsore typically breaks the skin. There may be oozing or weeping from the affected tissue. It may even look like a blister. The individual will report noteworthy pain. Proper cleaning is necessary because infection could occur once the skin breaks. Stages 3 and 4 involve the wound getting deeper and affecting more body tissue, including the muscles.
Warning signs of bedsores
Your loved one complaining of being uncomfortable might be your first warning that a bedsore could occur. If they don’t move every few hours, the risk is even higher. If your loved one spends all day in one position or if they go more than a few hours without staff checking on them and helping them rotate, their risk of a bedsore is much higher.
When staff members aren’t attentive to residents, bedsores will develop and eventually worsen. They may require a physician’s treatment once they reach Stage 2 and will absolutely require medical care at Stages 3 and 4.
Holding nursing homes accountable when they don’t properly prevent and treat bedsores can protect your loved one and may just raise the standard of care for others.