It is often a painful decision to place your loved one in a nursing home once their physical or cognitive deficits get too challenging for them to continue living on their own or with family. But once the decision is made, you expect that they will be cared for appropriately by the medical professionals charged with that duty.
So, when you visit them, you are rightfully horrified to learn that they are suffering from bedsores. Does this mean your loved one is being neglected?
Bedsores are a clear sign of neglect
Decubitus ulcers – the medical term for bedsores – indicate a lack of care for vulnerable nursing home residents by their caregivers. Untreated bedsores can quickly fester, ulcerate and lead to sepsis and death.
Below are the stages of bedsores:
- Stage 1 – Nurses and nurse’s aides should check each shift for nonblanchable erythema. That term refers to the patient’s skin remaining red after pressure is applied. Normally, skin blanches under pressure. Quick treatment will reverse the condition.
- Stage 2 – The integrity of the outer layer of the skin is breached. It could be blistered or an open sore. Antibiotics, dressings and creams can be used.
- Stage 3 – Extensive intervention is needed here because the wound will be open, deep and potentially suppurating.
- Stage 4 – Wounds extend to the patient’s bones. They are at extreme risk of amputation and even death. Treatment consists of painful debridement.
These preventable wounds destroy whatever quality of life the nursing home resident has left. There is no excuse for these injuries in a residential care facility.
Speak up for those who have no voice
Simply having serious bedsores can debilitate patients past the point where they can advocate for themselves. Bedsores also exacerbate their underlying condition(s) that caused them to be placed in a nursing home.
You may need to intercede and seek legal justice for medical malpractice against your loved one.