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Bedsores may be a sign of neglect

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Nursing Home Abuse

If you have elderly parents, one of the heartbreaking decisions that you may need to eventually make involves placing them in a nursing home. While it’s not an easy choice, you may understand that your loved ones have reached a point where they need more skilled care than you can provide.

When making this transition, you expect that they will receive the help and attention they need, so it would be very upsetting to you discover that they have developed bed sores. This turn of events would leave you to wonder if they are being neglected.

What are bed sores?

Prolonged pressure on parts of the body may cause the breakdown of the skin and underlying tissue, resulting in bed sores. They typically occur on bony areas such as heels, ankles, hips and tailbones. Bed sores usually develop on people who are confined to beds or wheelchairs and are unable to change positions easily.

Nursing staff should be trained to prevent bed sores from developing, such as:

  • Regular repositioning
  • Checking the skin often
  • Keeping the skin dry and clean
  • Using foam boots to provide cushioning for the heels
  • Using specialized mattresses that provide alternating air pressure
  • Maintaining proper nutrition and hydration

Some people are more susceptible to pressure sores due to age, poor circulation or other medical conditions. Even with all the preventative measures, they may still develop sores. However, if your family member does develop bed sores, it could be a sign of neglect, especially if they are particularly advanced/severe and/or you notice other problems, including:

  • Decline in mobility
  • Poor hygiene, such as unwashed hair and face, pungent odor and dirty fingernails
  • Depression or agitation
  • Malnourishment and dehydration
  • Several falls

If you suspect your elderly parent is being neglected, it’s crucial to speak immediately with staff and their nursing home administrator. If they fail to address the situation, you will need to contact the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. Nursing home neglect is a serious condition that can result in illness, injury or even death. You will want to do everything you can to protect your loved one and seeking legal guidance is always an option.