Elderly Pressure Sores or “Bedsores” Can Indicate Caregiver Neglect
A pressure injury is localized damage to the skin and underlying soft tissue usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device. The injury can present as intact skin or an open ulcer and may be painful. The injury occurs as a result of intense and/or prolonged pressure or pressure in combination with shear. The tolerance of soft tissue for pressure and shear may also be affected by microclimate, nutrition, perfusion, co-morbidities and condition of the soft tissue. There are multiple stages of pressure ulcers, discussed at the end of this page.
Elderly pressure sores often indicate nursing home neglect because these sores develop when residents remain too long in one position and pressure is focused on a bony prominence – either from sitting in a wheelchair or lying in bed. Stages of bed sores may feature some pain in the beginning and later turn into a situation involving serious wounds (see the stages at the here.) In cases of extreme physical elder neglect, pressure sores can lead to conditions such as sepsis and bone infection when the pressure kills underlying tissue, opening and exposing the body to infection. Elder neglect pressure ulcers need proper treatment by a team of health professionals – and nursing homes need to keep the patient and the family informed and involved as soon as one is identified. Not doing this is neglectful.
Elderly pressure sores usually are caused by constant pressure, resulting in inadequate blood flow and damage to skin and tissue. How long they take to form through the various stages will vary. Pressure ulcers also can come from sliding down in a bed or skin getting irritated by moisture such as sweat or urine. Serious stages of bed sores can develop when frail seniors aren’t able to reposition themselves and caregivers don’t move them regularly. Physical elder neglect and bed sores are major issues in health care for elderly people, especially at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the Sacramento area.
Symptoms of elderly pressure sores may start with some pain or discoloration and progress to significant damage on the outer layer of skin. Later stages of bed sores can include a deep wound with muscle and bone showing. Signs of this physical elder neglect often show up on the lower parts of the body such as the buttocks, hips, and heels. Elder neglect pressure ulcers also can appear at the ears or the back of the head if a resident is bedridden. Often times, late stage pressure ulcers require painful debridement of the dead tissue.
Elderly pressure sores are critical signs of elder abuse and neglect because, when untreated, the sores can lead to other major health problems and even death. If the stages of bed sores advance, they can snowball into infection and lead to death. Failing to prevent and treat pressures ulcers is a common form of physical elder neglect. Elder neglect pressure ulcers also are linked to meningitis, which infects the fluid and membrane around your brain and spinal cord.
If you loved one suffered a pressure ulcer at a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility, contact us immediately.