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Bedsores: Potentially serious, infection-causing wounds

There are mistakes that happen in nursing homes, like failing to check on a patient regularly or neglecting duties to a patient who is immobile. Usually, missing one check-up isn't the end of the world, and the staff takes steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. However, when patients go without care for a more significant length of time, that's when the real trouble starts.

One of the signs that patients aren't receiving appropriate care is the development of bedsores. Bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers, develop when there is pressure on a specific area of skin and tissue for an extended period of time. It is most common for bedsores to develop on skin around bony areas, like the tail bone or heels. However, they can happen anywhere on the body.

Why do pressure sores affect nursing home residents?

They shouldn't but sometimes do. Imagine being wheelchair bound. You can't feel anything if you're paralyzed. If you're simply in a wheelchair, you might not be strong enough to move yourself regularly. That means that the places where your body is in contact with the wheelchair aren't being moved. Blood is not flowing to those areas, leading to tissue death.

When this only happens for a short time, you might notice a red mark or change in the skin's texture. Over longer periods of time, the pressure ulcer develops further. You might notice swelling, tenderness or even pus-like drainage. Severe bedsores are so significant that they may expose bone.

What should you do if you notice that you or another patient has a bedsore?

Speak up right away and make sure to move the pressure off that area of the body to increase blood flow. Improvements should happen within 24 to 48 hours, but if not, then a doctor needs to get involved. For serious cases, such as sores with pus or signs of infection, it's necessary to seek medical care immediately. Sores can deteriorate quickly and lead to necrosis in the area along with the potential for sepsis, a life-threatening infection of the blood.

It is negligence to allow patients to develop bedsores. It means they're not getting the care they need as often as it's needed. Families who have loved ones who have developed bedsores should reach out to the facility for an explanation while also realizing that they have legal options. It may be time to choose a new nursing home for your loved one.

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Rosen Louik & Perry, P.C.
437 Grant Street Suite 200, The Frick Building
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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Rosen Louik Perry, P.C. Pittsburgh
412-906-8102 1-800-440-5297