What Causes Bed Sores and How Can They Be Prevented?

Nursing Home Blog

Bed sores, also known as pressure sores, can cause serious infections. Bed sores can even be fatal. They are, unfortunately, common in nursing homes, afflicting an estimated 11 percent of U.S. nursing home residents. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to know how bed sores develop and how they can be prevented.

Causes of Bed Sores

Bed sores can develop when someone’s body remains in the same position for too long. Typically, that happens when someone is bedridden or confined to a wheelchair. The prolonged pressure injures the skin. Bed sores are most common in bony areas of the body, including ankles, heels, hips, and the base of the spine.

Pressure cuts off blood flow. The pressure of the skin on a bed or wheelchair seat can reduce blood circulation to the skin. If the pressure continues long enough, the skin cells will die.

Friction is dangerous for the elderly. Older people’s skin is easily damaged. If nursing home residents are dragged or otherwise moved incorrectly, the friction can cause or contribute to the formation of bedsores.

Hospital bed positioning can cause skin to stretch. If the head of a hospital bed is raised, that can cause the body to slide down further than the skin, which stretches the skin in an unhealthy way. The resulting damage can make bed sores more likely.

How to Prevent Bed Sores

Because bed sores develop when people remain in the same position for too long, the best way to prevent them is to make sure that people change position often enough. If a person is unable to move themselves, they will need someone to help reposition them. In nursing homes, a staff member should reposition bedridden residents at least once every two hours. Unfortunately, nursing home residents may not be moved as often as they need to be. That can happen when a facility is understaffed or when the staff members are negligent.

Call a Nursing Home Lawyer for Help

People in nursing homes have a legal right to receive proper care. If a loved one who lives in a nursing home has bed sores, call a nursing home lawyer to find out what you can do. The experienced attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere would be glad to tell you more. Call us at 1-800-281-8515 for a free consultation.