Finding a reputable, safe nursing home for a loved one isn’t an easy task. The existence of numerous lawsuits against nursing homes makes it hard to trust any of them. You can take a tour of the facilities, but that won’t tell you what goes on behind the scenes on a daily basis.
You also can’t accurately judge how residents are treated when nobody else is around. The nurses might seem nice on the outside but could have an undetectable mean streak.
Neglect can happen at any nursing home
Nursing home abuse doesn’t have to be physical violence. Neglect is the most common form of nursing home abuse. While a significant portion of neglect is intentional, sometimes it’s not.
Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and the nurses are overworked. People who mean well and love their patients are often under extreme pressure to complete their duties with little to no help. The upper management sometimes doesn’t provide enough staff coverage so nurses have to flip from one patient to the next incredibly fast. They often have to work double shifts and meet impossible schedule requirements with little to no breaks.
The stress of being overworked and understaffed can lead to innocent oversights and mistakes. However, not all oversights are innocent. Some overworked nurses become bitter and start to view their patients as an inconvenience, intentionally neglecting needs like changing bedpans, diapers, and turning people with limited mobility. The American Association for Justice notes that “elderly people are often left in their own feces and urine and not turned because a management decision is made to staff facilities at the lowest possible levels.”
Leaving someone in the same position for long periods of time will usually result in painful bedsores that can become infected if left untreated.
Bed sores are a terrible result of neglect
Bed sores aren’t just little sores on the body. They start out small but can grow into painful wounds. Bed sores develop mostly on bony parts of the body as a result of restricted blood flow. When constant pressure restricts blood flow, the tissue dies and a wound develops. Although bed sores are bad enough on their own, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers explain how serious complications can arise from bed sores, including:
Bed sores aren’t to be taken lightly or overlooked. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or another type of care facility, it’s important to check in on them to make sure they’re not being neglected. These complications are most likely to affect people with limited mobility, so if your loved one regularly gets up and walks around you may not have to worry.
How to prevent your loved one from getting bed sores
It’s hard to help when you can’t be right by their side, but there are ways you can prevent your loved one from getting bed sores. The most important thing is to find ways for them to be repositioned regularly.
Get them into a physical therapy program, even if they can’t do the exercises. A nursing home might not consider providing physical therapy to a patient who can’t walk or stand, but get them to work with your loved one anyway. Getting them up from their bed and into a wheelchair will give them a better chance at preventing bed sores. The movement will also keep their blood flowing and prevent their muscles from atrophying.
Most importantly, check their skin regularly for signs of bed sores. If you notice anything that looks like it could develop into a sore, you can have it treated immediately. Also, make sure they’re provided with clean and dry bed sheets.
If possible, get your loved one into an adjustable bed. Beds that can be raised and lowered can limit and change the amount of pressure on the body.
If you discover any bed sores that haven’t been treated, ask about it. Find out what they’ve been doing to treat the problem and how they plan on preventing more in the future. If the nursing home doesn’t have an answer or isn’t aware of the bed sore, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. If your loved one has developed bed sores as a result of being neglected, you could recover the compensation necessary to get them into a better facility.