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Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Neglect?

If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you want them to get the best possible care. Unfortunately, you cannot monitor that care around the clock. The best that most concerned relatives can do is to visit their loved ones regularly, discuss the care regimen and look for telltale signs of neglect. By law, such as 42 CFR 483.25(c), nursing homes are required to have policies in place to prevent bedsores. 

For a consumer, it is nearly impossible to discover neglect of a loved one before it happens as you cannot be there all the time. Some indicators are changes in the senior’s personality, such as moodiness, fear or depression; poor hygiene; bruising; and bedsores.

Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure. Bedsores develop most often on the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone of a sedentary person whose condition limits their ability to change positions and relieve pressure. An elderly person who is confined to a bed or wheelchair runs a risk of developing bedsores, which can degrade quickly to the point where they are extremely painful and threaten the health or life of the patient.

Nursing homes must be aggressive in treating bedsores in the earliest stages before the skin is broken, when it is just starting to show discoloration. Once the sore has progressed to a pink or red blister, it can quickly rupture and degrade to a deep, crater-like wound. From there, the sore can expose muscle, bone or tendons and can act as a conduit for infection, leading to life-threatening sepsis.

There are many reasons why an elder may fail to thrive in a nursing home environment. But, too many elders receive substandard care from providers who are dismissive of their suffering. In many cases, bedsores are entirely preventable and indicate negligence. 

If you are concerned that your elder loved one is being neglected in a Massachusetts nursing home, an attorney at Swartz & Lynch LLP can evaluate your case for free. To schedule a consultation, call 857-250-0664 or contact our Boston office online.

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