To some degree, many families are led to believe that bedsores are just a common wound that the elderly experience when they are in a nursing home or long-term care. However, bedsores or other injuries from neglect are completely preventable. They are caused as a result of unrelieved pressure against the skin and are often a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect. In many cases, a patient with bedsores is a clear sign that the facility is not giving patients the treatment and care that they need.
There are additional injuries which are red flags for neglect. Not every medical facility, nursing home, or a long-term Elderly Care Facility intentionally neglects their patients. Whether neglect is intentional, the result is the same. Elderly patients should not be treated as though they can be forgotten, or that their needs are less important than anyone else’s. Simple things like rotating within the bed and sitting up occasionally to relieve pressure against the skin are very basic needs that can prevent injuries from neglect.
How Do Bedsores Form?
Bedsores are a type of ulcer, specifically known as pressure ulcers. They are preventable injuries from neglect that happen because the patient’s skin breaks down from being in one position for too long. Bedsores are easily preventable by shifting weight and moving around. Even patients who are in wheelchairs or bedridden should not experience bed sores.
As a result of the bed sores and the lack of blood supply to the area because of the constant pressure on the skin, the tissue in that region dies. When a pressure ulcers starts the only path it has without immediate intervention is to progressively get worse. It starts out as a small red circle and then forms a blister, and is then an open wound, and eventually becomes a crater of deteriorating or dying muscle tissue.
What Other Injuries from Neglect May Occur?
A 2016 study published in the journal for emergency medicine acknowledged what emergency department professionals cited as injuries of abuse in elderly patients. The study determined that the most common abuse related injuries from neglect were found on upper extremities and those were identified in 45% of emergency room visits.
The most common abuse related injury was bruising, which can include bruising across the upper arms, within the chest region, and among the head or neck. Of the emergency room visits studied 42% of those involved “accidental” injuries which contained suspicious characteristics that would lead an emergency room professional to suspect abuse. The most common element or suspicious circumstance was that the injury occurred more than a day prior to seeking medical help. In other words, the injury occurred and either another medical professional saw the injury and sought treatment or treatment was only pursued after the injury was not healing.
Why Does Neglect Happen in Nursing Homes?
Neglect happens for a variety of reasons, and as mentioned earlier it is not always intentional. Often the medical professionals responsible for caring for those in nursing homes are nurses, assistants, or aids. They may have a varying degree of experience and education. Often these professionals are overwhelmed with too many patients to care for and too little support. Injuries from neglect typically ensue.
Of course there are malicious people within the medical industry, as there are malicious people in almost every industry. Those who purposefully seek out to cause neglect and to inflict abuse often work within the industry for years and jump from position to position hoping to not get caught.
Support for Nursing Home Abuse Victims in South Carolina
Elderly abuse across the country is still growing and there are alarming estimates at unreported instances of abuse and neglect. This is one situation where we may never know the full scope or scale of abuse in nursing homes. If your loved one has bedsores, then it’s time to start asking questions. Bedsores are a clear sign that something is wrong and if that can’t be fixed immediately, there’s an issue.
Whether it’s bed sores, bruising, or injuries that simply don’t seem to heal as quickly as they should, you can get involved in your loved one’s nursing home experience. Involving a nursing home abuse attorney can initiate the in-depth look at how the facility is run and how the patients are treated. Reporting abuse and seeking out legal action are the only two ways that there will be any dramatic change to the nursing home system. Guard the elderly and your family by calling Connell Law to take action against elderly abusers.