Many nursing home residents have mobility issues that force them to stay seated or lying down for long periods of time. Over time, this constant pressure on certain areas of the body can lead to the development of bedsores.
That makes it essential that nursing home staff take extra care with residents who are wheelchair-bound or bedridden. Bedsores are preventable with basic routine care. However, left untreated they can lead to serious health issues.
What causes bedsores?
Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, happen when pressure on the body cuts off blood circulation to the skin for a prolonged period of time. Residents who remain in the same position for more than 2 to 3 hours at a time are at risk of developing bedsores. The most common places that pressure ulcers develop include the back of the head, the shoulder blades, the heels of the feet, and the tailbone, hips or buttocks.
What are the symptoms of bedsores?
Without treatment, bedsores can progress quickly.
Initially, a person may develop a patch of skin that is itchy, red and inflamed. Later, the area may develop blistering or open sores that can invite infection, leading to fever, chills, fatigue, a rapid heartbeat and mental confusion. With time, the sore may deepen, leading to damage to surrounding tissues, including muscles, tendons and bone.
Too often nursing home residents suffer from bedsores needlessly. Good nutrition, hydration and regular bathing are essential. It is also important that staff take care to reposition patients with mobility issues frequently. Unfortunately, lack of staffing, poor facility monitoring or poor caregiver training can all lead to residents developing easily preventable sores.