What Causes Bed Sores in Nursing Homes?
Proper care and attention in nursing homes can avoid most bed sores, also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers. Unfortunately, statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that more than one in 10 nursing home residents suffer from bed sores each year. Most of these result from some level of nursing home neglect or elder abuse.
Limited or Negligent Staffing Leads to Bed Sores
Constant pressure on heels, elbows, heads, hips and buttocks causes a decrease in blood circulation. Poor circulation then leads to injured skin and pressure sores.
Proper staffing with doctors, nurses and other individuals who care about their patients’ wellbeing can protect against sores from ever occurring. Such staffing is hard to find these days, however, and instances of nursing home neglect such as the following occur all too often:
- Inadequate staffing levels to reposition your loved one: Moving your loved one into different positions provides the pressure relief he or she needs to protect against skin breakdown. This repositioning should occur at least every two hours. In understaffed nursing homes, this repositioning does not happen as often as it should, leading to pressure sores, infections and more.
- Lack of monitoring for dehydration or malnutrition: The fewer nutrients in your loved one’s body means the greater likelihood for lesions and pressure sores. Dehydration and malnutrition also attribute to longer recovery periods and recurring pressure ulcers.
- Lack of proper hygiene: If your loved is like most other nursing home residents, he or she relies on the staff to help in maintaining good hygiene levels. Without routine care, including frequent baths, clean clothes and clean linens, those hygiene levels will fall and bed sores may occur. Common causes of decreased hygiene include inattentive staff and poor staffing levels.
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Diabetes and Bed Sores
Diabetics are at high risk for skin breakdown. This is due to the fact that diabetes greatly affects circulation – the poorer the circulation, the greater chance for bed sores to develop. Without proper monitoring and diabetes treatment, those chances increase drastically. Indeed, the following issues relating to poor care by nursing home staff cause a fair number of otherwise-preventable bed sores:
- Poor glucose control
- Poor monitoring of glucose levels
- Poor diet management
If your loved one is in a nursing home and has diabetes, work directly with the doctors, nurses and other staff to ensure they have an appropriate care plan in place to deal with the prevention of bed sores and related infections.
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