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David A. DiBrigida

Understanding Pressure Ulcers (Bedsores)

March 17, 2024

Posted in Uncategorized

Pressure ulcers, commonly known as bedsores, are a significant concern for individuals residing in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. These painful and potentially life-threatening wounds result from prolonged pressure on the skin and underlying tissue, often due to immobility or inadequate care. Our friends at Davis & Brusca, LLC are here to explore the causes, risk factors, prevention, and legal implications of pressure ulcers, providing valuable insights for families with loved ones in nursing home care:

Pressure ulcers are localized injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, typically occurring over bony prominences such as the sacrum, heels, hips, and elbows. They develop when constant pressure restricts blood flow to these areas, leading to tissue damage and ulcer formation. Think of these as forming when someone just lies in a bed and never moves. Pressure ulcers can range from mild redness and irritation to deep, open wounds that are susceptible to infection and slow to heal.

Causes And Risk Factors

Several factors contribute to the development of pressure ulcers, including:

  1. Immobility: Individuals who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair are at a higher risk of developing pressure ulcers due to prolonged pressure on specific areas of the body.
  2. Friction and Shear: Friction and shear forces, such as sliding down in bed or being dragged across a surface, can exacerbate tissue damage and increase the risk of pressure ulcer formation.
  3. Moisture: Excessive moisture from sweat, urine, or feces can soften the skin and make it more susceptible to damage, particularly in areas where skin folds or overlaps. This can also occur from an open wound created from surgery or another source.
  4. Poor Nutrition: Malnutrition and dehydration can impair the body’s ability to repair damaged tissue, making individuals more vulnerable to pressure ulcers.
  5. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, vascular disease, and neurological disorders can compromise blood flow and sensation, increasing the risk of pressure ulcer development.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing pressure ulcers requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both individual risk factors and environmental factors. Some key prevention strategies include:

  1. Regular Repositioning: Encourage individuals at risk of pressure ulcers to change positions frequently to relieve pressure on vulnerable areas.
  2. Proper Cushioning: Provide supportive mattresses, cushions, and padding to distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of tissue damage.
  3. Skin Care: Keep the skin clean, dry, and well-moisturized to maintain skin integrity and prevent irritation.
  4. Adequate Nutrition: Ensure individuals receive a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals to support tissue repair and prevent malnutrition.
  5. Monitoring and Assessment: Regularly assess individuals for signs of pressure ulcers and intervene promptly if any abnormalities are detected.

Legal Implications

Pressure ulcers are often a sign of neglect or inadequate care in nursing home settings. Families whose loved ones develop pressure ulcers may have legal recourse to seek compensation for the harm caused. A nursing home injury lawyer  will understand the legal implications of pressure ulcers in nursing home settings and can provide expert guidance and representation for families seeking justice. Attorneys can help families navigate the legal process, gather evidence of negligence, and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions. If you believe that your elderly loved one is developing bed sores due to neglect from their caretakers, contact a lawyer near you for help immediately.

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