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The challenge of pressure ulcers

After a few days lying in bed with a cold or flu, your body may start to ache, and your skin may feel sore. It may take only a few hours of getting up and moving around before you start to feel better.

Unfortunately, many elderly people in nursing homes do not have the luxury of getting themselves out of bed to move around. They may lie for days or weeks in the same position or sit in a wheelchair from morning until night. Because of this, they may develop pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores. If your loved one suffered from pressure ulcers a nursing home staff member failed to notice or treat, you may have many questions that demand answers.

Preventing bedsores

A pressure sore is an area in the skin that begins to break down because it is no longer receiving adequate blood flow. This is usually because the person has not changed positions enough to prevent the bones in the body from compressing the skin against the chair or bed. Bedsores can also develop if your loved one's delicate skin rubs against the sheets or drags across a surface. To prevent this, your loved one's nursing staff should make the following part of its routine:

Frequently changing your loved one's position, even slightly, to keep the blood flowing and remove pressure

  • Using extra cushioning for susceptible areas, such as the sacrum, heels, hips and back
  • Checking your loved one often for discoloration of the skin, temperature changes, changes in skin consistency and other complaints
  • Using creams and lotions to keep the skin soft and protected
  • Providing your loved one with adequate and nutritious meals

In a younger, healthy person, a pressure sore may develop slowly. In the elderly, however, they can appear quickly and worsen fast. Your loved one, for example, may have delicate skin because of his or her age. If your loved one suffers from certain ailments, such as cancer, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's diseases, diabetes, or others, he or she may be even more at risk for pressure sores. This is why all nursing home residents deserve care and attention to their basic needs.

When a pressure ulcer moves to stage two or three, your loved one may be in considerable pain or even require surgical intervention. Sores that go beyond this stage can quickly turn life-threatening. If your loved one is dealing with untreated sores or suffered with them to the end of life, you may wish to consult an attorney for information about nursing home negligence and your legal options.

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Law Offices of Brian H. Fant, P.C.
8350 N. Central Expwy.
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Dallas, TX 75206

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