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Bed Sores Are an Evident Sign of Likely Neglect in Nursing Home

With the recent loss of eight elderly residents of a nursing home, the spotlight is again on nursing home neglect, and people in Mississippi have taken note. USA Today reports the sister nursing home to the one that housed these seniors had recently and temporarily lost its right to accept new patients after findings of abuses and neglect.

Family members whose loved ones live in a nursing home should be able to rely on the nursing home professionals to competently perform their duties. However, that is not always the case. Loved ones visiting their elderly family members should keep their eyes open for some tell-tale signs of neglect. One of those signs can manifest itself right on the body of the beloved senior. Bed sores, also known as pressure sores, are not a natural occurrence for a properly cared for resident.

How to detect a pressure sore

Visiting family members can keep an eye out for redness on the loved one’s skin, which would be a pre-sore warning sign. Without abating the cause for pressure redness, the condition can worsen to severe skin damage that can travel all the way into muscles. Later, it can even extend into bone. In fact, often pressure sores grow over bony parts of the body, including elbows and hips, although other areas are possible.

Skin folds are also vulnerable to sores, as are areas that may be adjacent to therapeutic apparatus, such as oxygen tubing, which puts a physical burden on the skin in areas such as the ears. Ultimately, pressure sores tend to become infected, which can be life-threatening.

Early detection can help lead to healing

Catching a pressure ulcer early is important because later it can be difficult to treat. The sores tend to heal slowly, and the lapse in attention that created them is the very behavior necessary to heal them.

Constant pressure on the skin due to lying in bed or sitting in a chair for too long without moving positions causes the sores. Blood supply to that area of skin decreases, which ultimately causes the skin to break down and an open sore to grow. Frequent and regular changing of the body’s position is critical to preventing and healing the sores.