Bedsores often occur in senior citizens, who may be prone to bedsores because of physical ailments and health issues. They can typically be prevented when a caregiver provides proper assistance and care, including maintaining proper hygiene and rotating the patient frequently in order to protect the body’s sensitive tissues. Unfortunately, when a caregiver fails to provide proper assistance to a patient, the bedsores can develop and gradually become worse over time until they become a serious and potentially fatal medical condition if infection develops.
Bedsores are one of the major signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, since a nursing home with improper policies and a careless staff can fail its patients and those who are bedridden or wheelchair bound can suffer from bedsores as a result of the poor care.
Causes of Bedsores
Bedsores occur when the tissues in your body sustain damage. Typically, this occurs when your bone squeezes the skin and tissues against some outside surface such as the seat of the wheelchair or the mattress on the bed. The constant pressure from the tissue being squeezed by the pressure from the bone and the fixed object can result in blood flow being cut off and the tissue being damaged as a result.
Bedsores can happen anywhere, but usually occur on weight-bearing parts of your body because these are the areas where the bones are most near to the skin and where the most sustained pressure is likely to occur. This can include on the hips; at the base of the spine; along the shoulder blades; in your elbow area; and at your knees or ankles.
When Bedsores Form
While bedsores can form anytime there is sustained pressure that cuts off blood flow to the tissues on your body, there are certain factors that can make bedsores more likely to form. Aside from being bedridden or wheelchair bound, some of the other contributing factors that encourage the formation of bedsores include:
- High humidity
- High temperatures
- Being underweight
The majority of cases of bedsores occur in patients aged 70 or older and bed sores are the second leading cause of death related to medical treatment following only adverse drug reactions.
How Bedsores Happen
While bedsores can sometimes occur even when a patient is cared for properly, they most often form in instances when a nursing home is negligent in providing appropriate care of a patient. When a nursing home is understaffed, when the staff is improperly trained or careless in ensuring that a patient is rotated regularly, and when a nursing home does not employ best practices to prevent bedsores, this can increase the chances of bedsores forming.
Because bedsores are one of the biggest indicators of nursing home neglect, you should take immediate action if you notice bedsores on a friend or relative in a nursing home. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can provide you with information about your options in dealing with bedsore issues
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.