Preventing Bed Sores: Essential Steps for Nursing Home Staff
When a new resident moves into the nursing home, and periodically thereafter, nursing home staff should take the time to perform a thorough assessment of the resident’s body for pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. Bedsores are some of the most painful wounds that the elderly can develop, as they are the result of too much pressure being exerted on an area of skin. Bedsores are most commonly formed on areas of the body where weight is supported. For older individuals living in nursing home communities, these sores most often develop on the heels, tailbone, and buttocks as many elderly residents have difficulty with mobility and are often bound to their beds or wheelchairs. Conducting such assessments can help to prevent bedsores before they form.
A Dual-Assessment Approach to Bedsore Assessments
As an initial matter, upon admission to the residence and every three months after that, the resident should be inspected from head-to-toe by a trained nursing staff member of the same sex to check for any existing bedsores, as well as check for any indication of potential formation sites for bedsores. Indications of the potential for bedsore development include a variety of skin issues, such as skin discolorations, irregular skin temperature at the suspect site, poor skin turgor, areas of skin that have a higher than normal moisture status, i.e., areas of skin that are too moist and are unable to properly dry out, and areas that shows signs of a problem with integrity, i.e., small abrasions. Any and all findings of skin issues should be documented and observed and reassessed daily until the particular issue resolves.
If during the full-body inspection there are any signs of a current or healed pressure ulcer, the location and details of the wound or healed wound should be documented, including the location, length, width and depth of the wound and the stage that the wound is in. Pressure ulcers can develop under bandages or inside casts, so nursing staff should check in those areas as well.
At the same time as the full-body visual inspection, the new resident should undergo a risk assessment, which helps staffers identify any risk factors the resident might have that makes it more likely he or she will develop bedsores. This assessment should also consider the resident’s nutritional status, i.e., whether he or she is properly nourished, and should also include an assessment of his or her mobility, activity and sensory perception abilities. Nutrition, mobility and sensory perception all play into the prevention of bedsores.
Based on the findings of the visual inspection and the risk factor assessment, a care plan should be developed that addresses the resident’s needs concerning bedsore prevention and/or treatment.
Contacting a Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney
If your loved one has developed a bedsore while staying at a nursing home facility and was not admitted to the facility with any bedsores, your loved one has likely developed the wound while in the nursing home’s care. Please do not hesitate to contact an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney that specializes in bedsores today. Contact the attorneys at the The Rooth Law Firm either online or by phone at (847) 869-9100.