Bed Sores And Decubitis Ulcers Can Be Deadly
You may be surprised to know that one of the deadliest, most dangerous, and most common nursing home injuries doesn’t come from any kind of abuse at all. Rather it comes from the complete opposite: Doing absolutely nothing.
We’re talking about decubitus ulcers, otherwise commonly known as bed sores. Bed sores are the silent killer of the elderly and infirm in nursing homes, and what makes their occurrence all the more tragic, is how preventable they are.
What is a Bed Sore?
A bed sore is simply a sore that develops because of prolonged contact between the human skin and a surface, in most cases in a nursing home, that surface being a bed or bed sheet. The pressing of skin on the sheets or the bed, breaks down the skin, opening it up into a sore. Just imagine any part of your body pressing against any surface, with no movement or circulation. The skin simply starts to break down.
Because sores develop when a patient doesn’t move, the most vulnerable patients–those who cannot move on their own, or who may be unconscious, or simply immobile–are at the most risk to develop bed sores. They also happen to be the ones who are less able to even tell anybody they are having pain.
Bed Sores can be Deadly
The word “sore” has a connotation as a minor injury, and bed sores are certainly very much more than minor.
A bed sore, left untreated, can get bigger and bigger. The first layer of skin breaks down, leaving unprotected skin layers underneath, pressing against a surface. That skin breaks down, until there is open tissue, musculature, even exposed bone, that is left open, pressing against the bed.
Tissue surrounding the now open wound begins to die. If the sore itself doesn’t kill the patient, the inevitable infection will.
Not Very Noticeable
Bed sores can easily develop, because the areas that they develop–the lower back or tailbone area–are obviously underneath the patient’s body, or hidden under sheets and covers. That means that family or nursing home staff may not even see that there is a decubitus ulcer developing.
Easy to Avoid
Bed sores are easily avoided; all that needs to happen is to move the patient on a regulator basis, to ensure that no one part of the patients’ body is in contact with the bed for a prolonged time period.
Many more modern nursing homes even have beds that are automatic, and can move on their own, slightly shifting the patient’s weight and position, so as to avoid any one part of the patient’s body from pressing against the bed underneath for extended periods of time (this is something you may want to ask about, when choosing a nursing home).
Bed sores are an absolute sign of neglect in a nursing home. Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you suspect a loved one may be neglected while in a nursing home or long term care facility.