Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are a concern in North Carolina nursing homes where individuals with limited mobility may spend extended periods in bed or seated. These painful and potentially life-threatening sores can develop when there’s prolonged pressure on specific areas of the body. Ensuring proper care and avoiding negligent behavior from staff is essential for preventing bedsores.
Causes and risk factors
Individuals who cannot move or change positions independently are at a higher risk. Immobility prevents regular shifts in body weight, leading to increased pressure on specific areas.
Malnutrition and dehydration weaken the skin and impair the body’s ability to repair itself, making residents more susceptible to bedsores. Nursing home abuse can often result in malnutrition and inadequate hydration.
Sliding down in bed or being repositioned without proper lifting techniques can cause friction and shear, damaging the skin’s outer layer and underlying tissues. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to moisture, such as from sweat or incontinence, can weaken the skin’s protective barrier, making it more susceptible to breakdown.
Nursing home staff should frequently reposition residents to relieve pressure on specific areas. Regular changes in position help distribute pressure and reduce the risk of developing bedsores. Providing balanced meals and ensuring residents are well-hydrated supports skin health and helps prevent skin breakdown.
Regularly inspecting residents’ skin for signs of redness, irritation or early-stage sores is essential. Keeping the skin clean and dry and using appropriate moisturizers can help maintain its integrity.
Nursing homes should invest in pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions that distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of bedsores. Additionally, nursing home staff should receive training in proper lifting and repositioning techniques to minimize friction and shear. They should also receive education about the importance of skincare and the early signs of bedsores.
Regularly documenting residents’ skin condition, repositioning schedules, and interventions can help track the effectiveness of preventive measures and identify areas for improvement. Residents’ family members and friends should also be vigilant about signs that may point to neglect by staff.
Ignoring residents’ needs can lead to bedsores. Nursing home staff must strive to provide the proper protection and care while being held accountable for neglect.