Family members expect optimal care from the nursing home professionals taking care of their loved ones, and for the most part, many facilities offer exemplary care to residents.
However, poor care can lead to damaging ailments such as bedsores. Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores can cause major issues for people who are bedridden or spend significant time in a wheelchair. Here are some facts family members must keep in mind to assist their loved ones if needed.
How do bedsores form?
Bedsores require a combination of pressure, friction and shearing motion, which is when two tissues or materials move in opposite directions. Pressure decreases the blood flow of the skin, while friction and shearing can damage tissues and cause injuries. Bedsores are very common on the back, shoulder blades, tailbone and buttocks.
While bedsores start out as minor, they can quickly develop into much more serious infections. Some people will develop a skin infection called cellulitis, which can lead to swelling and irritation. If the issue persists, an infection can spread from the skin down to deeper tissues, including the bones.
How can nursing home staff prevent bedsores?
Nursing home staff must be vigilant when it comes to repositioning bedridden residents. Staff should move these seniors at least once per hour to prevent the above conditions from occurring. Staff should make sure that hospital beds have no more than a 30-degree elevation at the top. This helps prevent the shearing motion that can damage the skin.
Additionally, proper skin care is also crucial to avoid bedsores in nursing homes. Caregivers must thoroughly clean and dry the resident’s skin multiple times per day. Staff can also use moisturizing lotions to keep skin soft and supple. They should also conduct daily inspections to look for developing sores and treat them immediately.
Even with the right assistance, bedsores can still develop. The real problem arises when they are a frequent occurrence at a nursing facility. In this case, the family must raise the issue with the administrator immediately.