The expectation of a Massachusetts nursing home is that it provides for a higher degree of managed care than could be given to a patient from family or other caregivers. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Critical staff shortages, lack of training, and other problems impede quality health care at these facilities, so residents may suffer from medical problems like bedsores.
Bedsores are dangerous
Studies have made a critical link between bedsores and nursing home neglect. Bedsores are pressure ulcers that result from maintaining pressure on the same bodily area for prolonged periods of time. Pressure on the strained area can occur during long periods of sitting or lying down on one side of the body.
Despite the fact that bedsores can be deadly, they are preventable in many cases with an appropriate level of care. This involves more than just repositioning the patient at regular intervals. All contributing bedsore factors should be mitigated by giving the patient proper nutrition, adequate hydration, routine bathes, and changing of clothes. If a bedsore is noticed, it should be immediately treated before it goes to a deeper stage, resulting in sepsis or other serious problems.
The four stages of bedsores
There are four stages to bedsore as determined by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Stage one is a surface wound but can be discolored and warm. In stage two, bedsore has broken the skin, demonstrating greater visibility. Stage three occurs when the sore has sunk into the skin down to the fatty tissue. Stage four is where the wound has reached the muscle and maybe even the bone.
Bedsores need exponentially more care the more serious they become, so the best remedy for bedsores is to try to avoid them. Family and friends of the patient can also play a role in ensuring that their loved ones are getting the care that the relative needs. If bedsores are spotted, staff should be alerted so that immediate treatment can start. Family members may also want to initiate an investigation into whether neglect played a role in the development of the sores.