How to Prevent Bed Sores in Nursing Homes
Some nursing home patients, including those with diabetes and those who are frail, are at high risk for skin breakdown or bed sores. Nursing home staff is required to take appropriate steps to prevent skin breakdown in these patients, as well as to do whatever it takes to resolve existing wounds and avoid recurrences. Failure to take these steps can signal purposeful abuse or nursing home neglect and can cause serious consequences for the abused.
Repositioning Often Is Key to Preventing Bed Sores
First and foremost, nursing home staff should reposition bedridden or wheelchair-bound patients. State and federal nursing home care laws specifically regulate how often patients should receive this type of care:
- For patients confined to a lateral position, staff should turn and reposition those patients at least every two hours.
- For patients confined to a sitting position, including those in wheelchairs, staff should reposition those patients every 15 minutes.
In addition to repositioning, staff should use supportive items such as cushions, pads and adjustable mattresses to help relieve pressure on sensitive areas such as the buttocks and heels.
Additional Health and Skin Care Techniques to Avoid Bed Sores
While repositioning is fundamental in bed sore prevention, pressure ulcers will still form if the nursing home staff does not also follow these steps:
- Ensuring a proper, balanced diet
- Keeping hydrated at all times
- Implementing a daily skin care regimen
- Managing incontinence
- Controlling glucose levels in patients with diabetes
- Assessing and addressing potential posture concerns
Nursing home staff can also use lab tests to help monitor your loved one’s nutrition and hydration levels. This enables staff to catch potential threats of skin breakdown before they actually occur.
Providing Appropriate Wound Care to Prevent Recurrences
In addition to implementing nursing home care plans to avoid pressure sores, staff should take all steps necessary to treat existing wounds so as to prevent future sores. Those steps include:
- Removing pressure from the area
- Removing damaged or infected skin and tissue (debridement)
- Cleaning the wound regularly
- Protecting the wound with special bandages or dressings
- Ensuring adequate nutrition and hydration
- Monitoring the wound’s progress
Daily care and monitoring can help ensure fast and effective recovery. If you notice your loved one is not getting the care he or she needs to heal existing bed sores, talk to the nursing home staff and then reach out to an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney for advice.
Request Your Free Initial Consultation at Our Elder Abuse Law Firm
At The Rooth Law Firm, located in Illinois, we offer more than 28 years of experience representing the rights and interests of nursing home abuse and neglect victims. Whether you have questions about signs of neglect or abuse, or you believe your loved one’s bed sores are a direct result of improper or poor care, call us at 877-356-3007 or contact our experienced lawyers online. We offer free initial consultations to new clients.
The key to preventing bed sores is to have the nursing home providers carefully monitor several factors on an ongoing basis to prevent pressure ulcers:
- Position: Individuals bound to beds or chairs are at high risk for pressure ulcers, especially those who are unable to re-position themselves. Care providers should re-position these individuals often.
- Nutrition: Rapid weight loss can increase an individual’s risk for bed sores. Nursing home staff should pay close attention to food and water intake and ensure a balanced diet. Malnutrition is a serious symptom of nursing home neglect and abuse.
- Dehydration: Poor hydration makes one more susceptible to skin breakdown and pressure ulcers. Additionally, dehydration increases the risk that an existing pressure sore will become infected. Nursing staff should closely monitor nursing home residents for clinical signs of dehydration.
- Incontinence: Incontinence can quickly lead to severe pressure ulcers if not handled appropriately. Anticipatory toileting and skin barrier ointments can help prevent incontinence from causing bed sores.
- Pressure Relief: It is imperative nursing home staff use pressure relief devices, such as special foam mattresses or support cushions, to help avoid pressure ulcers.
When you are considering a nursing home, long-term care facility or assisted living facility for your loved one, be sure to ask what specific steps those care providers take to prevent bed sores. The answers provided to you should include these factors. If they don’t take these precautions it could be a sign of nursing home abuse. You should contact a nursing home abuse attorney like Robert Rooth for a free consultation at 877-356-3007.