Are Bed Sores in an Iowa Nursing Home a Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

Nursing home neglect can sometimes be difficult to detect. After all, many residents in Iowa nursing homes suffer from bed sores. Is it a normal, but unfortunate, side effect of being in a facility, or is it an indication of nursing home neglect?

What Are Bed Sores?

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are injuries to skin and tissue resulting from sustained pressure. These are common wounds for those who live in Iowa nursing homes, especially for:

  • A resident new to a facility (a year or less since they were admitted)
  • A resident who cannot easily move without assistance
  • A resident who has recently lost weight

Skin is not an effective padding, and shifting is the way most humans keep from developing these ulcers. Bed sores form when a person stays still in the same position for a long period of time. Whether sitting or lying down, bed sores can be a common occurrence for those who cannot move easily on their own.

The elderly also have thinner skin and can have issues with healing, so it is not uncommon for these sores to develop. Bed sores take a long time to heal and can lead to further infections, so it’s better to avoid them if possible.

Keep Bed Sores From Developing in an Iowa Nursing Home

Failure to keep bed sores from developing can be a form of nursing home neglect. If your loved one is not able to move themselves or is otherwise at risk for pressure ulcers, be sure their nursing home is doing everything possible to keep bed sores from developing. This can include:

Change positions often

If your loved one cannot do this themselves, an Iowa nursing home facility staff member should readjust them frequently. The longer someone sits or lies in the same position, the more likely it is for them to develop a sore.

Keep the skin dry and clean

If your loved one is incontinent, this can make it easier for bed sores and accompanying infections to set in. Be sure the facility’s staff is checking your loved one for dampness on a consistent schedule.

Use pillows and other supports

Specially made pillows, foam cushions, and other supports placed under problem areas can help lessen the chance of developing pressure ulcers.

Four Stages of Bed Sores

There are four stages of pressure ulcers used by medical staff to track the severity of bed sores. They range from Stage I, where the skin appears reddened and may be warm, to Stage IV, where the sore extends into nearby muscle and bone and is life-threatening.

Even with all this care, it’s possible that an occasional bed sore can develop on your loved one. If this happens, the nursing home staff should clean and dress the wound appropriately. Keeping the wound dry and clean is very important for healing.

When Might Bed Sores Signal Nursing Home Neglect?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pressure ulcers are “one of the important measures of the quality of clinical care in nursing homes.” If there are many residents in the facility who have or are developing bed sores, this can show the staff cannot or does not meet their residents’ needs.

It’s important for your loved one’s nursing home to do everything they can to prevent these injuries, and provide proper wound care when they do develop. If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, talk to the nursing home administrator right away about your concerns.

If your loved one has suffered bed sores and you believe it is due to nursing home neglect, call RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1542. For more information, download our FREE Guide to Iowa Nursing Home Abuse Claims.

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