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Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse—Bedsores

Nursing Home Neglect — Bedsores: Causes and Treatment

A recent study found that nearly half a million hospital or nursing home patients suffer from bedsores every year. The sad reality is that bedsores, also known as decubitis ulcers, are almost entirely preventable.

The Causes of Bedsores

Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are lesions that develop on the skin. They are typically caused by a combination of any of the following: unrelieved pressure, friction, humidity, temperature, medication and age. A person can develop bedsores on any part of the body, but they are typically found at those bony places that make regular or continual contact with a bed or mattress, such as the buttocks, hip, spine, pelvis (sacrum), elbows, knees and ankles. Though called bedsores, they are not limited to people in beds, but can affect anyone who is confined to a structure, such as a wheelchair or other type of chair.

A bedsore results when pressure temporarily impedes the flow of blood to the skin in the affected area. Anytime the flow of blood is cut off to the skin, there is the potential for injury. What will initially appear as a red patch may begin to blister. In the worst cases, the skin may be damaged to the extent that bone or muscle is exposed.

Avoiding Bedsores

Researchers have long known that the most effective way to avoid bedsores is to regularly relieve pressure on potentially affected areas. Experts recommend that persons confined to a bed or wheelchair change their position a minimum of every two hours. Special mattresses can relieve pressure as well.

Studies also show that friction—dragging a patient across sheets, for example—exacerbates bedsores. This should be avoided.

Other recommendations to minimize the risk of bedsores include:

  • Avoiding chemical exposure, such as antiseptics, hydrogen peroxide, iodine and other substances
  • Good nutrition and hydration
  • Daily exercise
  • Proper daily hygiene

Contact Our Office

We aggressively protect the rights of senior citizens who have been victims of carelessness or negligence in a long-term care facility. To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.