Decubitus ulcers, also called bedsores, are very common in people who are confined to a bed or unable to move. Patients in the hospital, those being cared for at home and residents in nursing homes can get bedsores. The sores occur where the weight of a person’s body presses against a firm surface, such as a bed, wheelchair or bedside chair. They can form on the hip, tailbone, elbows, heels, shoulder blades and bottom of the feet.
The pressure between the person’s body and the bed temporarily cuts off the blood supply to the skin, which injures the skin cells. Over time, without good blood circulation, the skin starts to show open sores or blisters. Eventually, the damage can go to the bone. Other complications can occur as well, such as bone and blood infections.
Look out for these signs
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you can watch for early signs of bedsores. The pressure does not have to be intense to start to cause an ulcer. In people who are not able to move around, it can begin quite easily. The first signs of damage are patches of red skin that do not turn white when pressed with your finger. People with darker skin may have different color patches. Another sign is skin that is tender or itchy. It might feel warm to the touch or cold.
Although not every bedsore is a result of neglect in a nursing home, many are. Nursing home staff do not intentionally set out to cause such injuries, but through neglect, a lack of staff training or a lack of time to fully perform duties, bedsores can occur. If your loved one is suffering from bedsores that could have been due to neglect, you might want to talk to an experienced attorney who can help you hold the right people accountable.