Conditions That Increase the Risk for Nursing Home Residents
A majority of the cases of bedsores occur in nursing homes and long term care situations. Bedsores are an indication of nursing home abuse or neglect and should be reported as such immediately.
The following conditions can place a resident at a higher risk of developing bedsores, and nursing staff should take extra care to make sure that residents with an increased risk of developing bedsores are moved regularly during the day.
- Immobilization or Limited Mobility: Those residents who are immobilized, paralyzed, or have limited mobility are at the greatest risk of developing bedsores because they are dependent on others to move them. In combination with other factors such as advanced age, poor circulation, or thin skin, these particular residents are compromised and vulnerable to developing bedsores more easily than a healthy person. Examples include residents that are comatose, paraplegic or have suffered from a spinal cord injury.
- Arthritic or Injured Residents: Residents who have problems such as arthritis may not want to move themselves, even though they are able, because of the pain associated with the movement of their inflamed joints. The same is true for residents who are mending a broken bone, such as a hip or ankle or have recently undergone surgery. For these residents, movement can be painful or nearly impossible to do without assistance. When residents do not move, even if it is voluntary immobility, there is an increased probability of developing bedsores.
- Diabetic Conditions: One of the major problems associated with diabetic conditions is that diabetic individuals may have no sense of feeling in their feet. This can be a problem if a bedsore begins to develop, as the diabetic person is incapable of perceiving indications of pain. Paraplegic individuals exhibit the same problem and are especially at risk for developing bedsores. These individuals are unaware that a bedsore is developing on their bodies, so the sore can get to an advanced stage before being noticed.
- Cognitive Impairments: Many cognitive impairments can contribute to the development of bedsores. Residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may not be aware that they have not moved for many hours, or may not realize or remember that they have a bedsore. Similarly, residents with Parkinson’s disease may be unable to move themselves and may require assistance with repositioning.
- Incontinence: Residents who have incontinence issues have a higher risk of developing bedsores. If, by accident, a resident wets their bed, the wet environment can help promote the formation of bedsores. Skin that is supersaturated with moisture is not able to breathe and dry out, making it more susceptible to tears, degradation, and breakdown.
If you have an elderly loved one who is suffering from bedsores in a nursing home or long-term care facility, please contact Robert Rooth today at (847) 869-9100 to discuss any concerns you might have about nursing home abuse or neglect.
Jeannette Franks, PhD, Bedsores and Personal Care Services, available at https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/elderly-bedsores.
The Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers), available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-sores/symptoms-causes/syc-20355893.