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What should I know about bed sores in nursing homes?

Your family member has started complaining about a sore that isn't healing. You are surprised because he or she is in a nursing facility. The staff at the nursing home should be checking up on the problem, but it doesn't seem like they are too concerned.

At your next visit to the nursing home, you are greeted with a horrible sight: Your loved one has a huge hole in the skin, and it looks painful. Upon taking your loved one to the doctor yourself, you find out that the issue is a bed sore.

What is a bed sore?

A bed sore is an ulcer caused by constant pressure on the area. Often, this occurs on a bony part of the body, such as a tailbone. Friction and shear can also lead to bed sores. These painful ulcers are often associated with patients who have to remain in bed and those who require transfer assistance in and out of bed or a wheelchair.

Can bed sores be prevented?

It is possible to prevent bed sores, also known as pressure sores, with proper care. People who are in bed all the time should be re-positioned often. This prevents one single area of the body from having to be under pressure all the time. The use of proper transfer techniques is also important in the prevention of these ulcers. This includes making sure that the patient's skin isn't being pulled or rubbed excessively during transfer.

How are bed sores treated?

Bed sores are treated in a variety of ways. The location and the severity of the bed sores affect the course of treatment. Using antibiotics and other medications might be necessary. The wound needs to be cleaned and dressed. If the bed sore is severe, surgical intervention might be necessary to remove dead tissue from the area to facilitate healing.

Bed sores can be painful. If the sore was the result of negligence or abuse at the nursing home, you and your family member might decide that seeking compensation is necessary. A lawsuit could also help prevent future occurrences at the nursing home.

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