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What are bed sores?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2020 | Nursing Home Injuries

When a loved one lives in a nursing home, you expect them to be afforded top-quality care. Older adults with advanced medical needs, including those who are bedridden, must be privy to round the clock care to keep them safe and secure. This includes help with personal grooming and changing bedding, among many other necessary tasks.

When staff is lax about properly caring for bedridden residents, bedsores are likely to occur. For people with compromised immune systems or those with limited mobility, bedsores can pose a serious, sometimes life-threatening issue. It is crucial that the families of nursing home residents understand the risk that bedsores pose they can take swift action.

Symptoms of bedsores

Bedsores start small and become more serious when there is a lack of intervention. The person’s skin may feel warmer or cooler than normal or exhibit a change in color. Over time, the area will become swollen. When serious, bedsores can penetrate deep into the skin and down to the bone. They are most likely to occur in areas with little padding, such as the tailbone, ankles, and spine.

How they are treated

Minor sores must be cleaned with soap and dressed with a sterile bandage to allow the skin time to heal. Sores involving open wounds should be flushed using a sterile saline solution. If there is damaged tissue present in the wound, a doctor can perform a debridement, which is a type of deep-cleaning procedure used on severe sores. Medication, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, can also be provided to limit discomfort.

How they can be prevented

Residents who are unable to move around on their own should be moved by nursing home staff on a regular basis. This prevents friction between the person’s skin and bedding, which will cause worsening irritation over time. The person should also be bathed on a daily basis, with nursing home staff ensuring skin is completely dry before dressing the resident in clean clothing. Even with these measures, staff should still be vigilant about checking the skin for developing sores so the proper treatment can be applied.