Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, are some of the most common injuries for those living in nursing homes. They may be signs of neglect, as it means that staff are not turning or repositioning the patient as frequently as they should.
If your loved one is in a nursing home and spends much of the time in bed or in a wheelchair, you should know what signs to look out for that indicate bedsores are present.
Causes of bedsores
According to John Hopkins Medicine, a bedsore develops when a body part is under pressure due to immobility. This pressure causes the blood supply to shut off to the area. A bedsore generally develops after two to three hours of unrelenting pressure.
People who are at higher risk of bedsores are those who are bedridden, immobile, unconscious or have a condition that prevents them from feeling pain. Others who are more susceptible are those with diabetes, malnutrition and circulatory problems.
Signs of bedsores
Mayo clinic discusses common areas that develop bedsores. For those who are bedridden, common sites include the shoulder blades, back of the head, ankles, heels, skin behind the knees, hips and tailbone. For those who spend much of their time in a wheelchair, common areas affected by bedsores are the spine, shoulder blades, tailbone and back of the arms and legs.
The first sign of bedsores is red skin at the site. When the skin dries, the area turns purple and painful. As the infection develops, signs include swelling, temperature changes, tenderness or pain and pus drainage. If left untreated, this infection can spread into the bone and muscle.
It can be difficult to treat bedsores, especially once there is deep infection. The best is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. This means frequent repositioning, good nutrition, soft padding and good skin care.