Nursing home residents rely on the care of an attentive staff. If the staff is negligent or abusive, the residents can suffer devastating conditions and fatal injuries. A common injury for those who lack physical mobility is the appearance and worsening of bed sores.
Bed sores are also called pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers and can appear on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair for long stretches of time. Ultimately, the blood supply to that area of the skin is cut off for several hours and tissue begins to die. There are four stages of symptom severity commonly associated with bed sores:
- Stage 1: The individual might notice the contact area is red in color and is painful to the touch. Additionally, the skin might burn or itch.
- Stage 2: The discolored area of the skin could now look like an open wound. It could take the appearance of a scrape or blister. The individual might also complain about increased pain in the affected area.
- Stage 3: The tissue-death below the surface is more evident as the injury begins to look more like a crater.
- Stage 4: The injured area might become infected as the damage begins to include muscles, tendons, bones and joints.
These injuries can be prevented by an attentive nursing home staff. A patient must be regularly turned or repositioned to prevent continuous pressure. Additionally, providing good nutrition and keeping the resident properly hydrated is essential in avoiding severe injuries.