Bedsore Warning Signs: A Guide for Family Members

When we place our loved ones in a nursing home, we trust that the staff at the facility will take care of them and are going to look out for the best interests of their residents. While many nursing homes do provide their residents with excellent care, others do not take proper care of the elderly folks residing at their facilities.

One sign of inadequate care is a bed sore. A bed sore, also known as a pressure sore or pressure ulcer, is a "'localized injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear and/or friction.'" When visiting a loved one who is living in a nursing home, it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of distress from that individual. If your loved one has been mistreated, there are some signs that can alert you to a problem. If your loved one is expressing that they are feeling discomfort or that they are in pain it could mean a bedsore is developing on their body. Non-verbal nursing home residents may grimace in pain when they are moved.

Bedsores are classified into stages. The key to successful treatment of bedsores is to spot them early. If a sore progresses to late-stage (Stage IV), it can result in tissue damage/death and serious infection. If you have a loved one who is in a nursing home, it is crucial to look for the early warning signs of a bedsore. The characteristics of a Stage I bedsore include:

  • The skin is not broken.
  • The skin appears red on people with lighter skin color, and the skin doesn't briefly lighten (blanch) when touched.
  • On people with darker skin, the skin may show discoloration, and it doesn't blanch when touched.
  • The site may be tender, painful, firm, soft, warm or cool compared with the surrounding skin.

It is important for family members to examine the skin of their loved ones to check for the above warning signs. The areas where bedsores most frequently occur should be examined regularly. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common areas include:

For people who use a wheelchair:

  • Tailbone or buttocks
  • Shoulder blades and spine
  • Backs of arms and legs where they rest against the chair

For people who are confined to a bed:

  • Back or sides of the head
  • Rim of the ears
  • Shoulders or shoulder blades
  • Hip, lower back or tailbone
  • Heels, ankles and skin behind the knees

The Cleveland Clinic lists bedsores as one of the indicators that an individual is suffering from elder abuse. These sores can have devastating consequences if left untreated. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse in New York, please do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Dalli & Marino today. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients seek just compensation for the injuries they have suffered. You can call our office today at (888) 465-8790, or fill out our online contact form.

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