Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, will usually start out small and worsen over time. They can be extremely painful and costly to treat.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the development of pressure ulcers, but the majority of individuals who suffer from bedsores have difficulty moving. For that reason, bedsore injuries are common in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Elderly residents often remain in the same position for long periods of time, extending the impact of pressure in bony areas. However, immobility is not the only factor that can be a predictor of pressure ulcers.
Factors That Contribute To Bedsore Injuries:
- Immobility: The inability to move the body without assistance is the leading predictor of pressure ulcers. Patients with spinal/brain injuries or neuromuscular diseases are particularly vulnerable, but any individual who is bedridden or remains in a wheelchair without frequent repositioning can be affected.
- Age: The risk of bedsores increases as a person gets older. Elderly individuals have reduced blood flow and diminished body fat, which makes their skin more fragile and sensitive to the impact of pressure.
- Malnourishment: A well-rounded diet is essential for the skin and tissue to stay healthy. Proper hydration and nutrition will allow the skin to repair and replenish its cells. If an individual isn’t consuming enough nutrients, their body will be unable to heal.
- Chronic physical conditions: Individuals who suffer from diabetes or artery diseases are also vulnerable. These conditions hinder the body’s ability to receive vitamins from food and oxygen from blood.
- Mental incapacitation: Brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, can limit a patient’s ability to ask for help. Some individuals may be unable to seek proper treatment when a bedsore has developed.
- Incontinence: Urinary and bowel incontinence, or the inability to control urine or waste, can leave moisture and bacteria on the skin. Moisture, when coupled with pressure and friction, can cause irritation that leads to skin breakdown.
Nursing homes, caretakers and family members can evaluate each person’s pressure ulcer risk by using the Norton or Braden scales. But despite the multitude of resources, thousands of people are suffering from bedsores.
If you or a loved one lived in a nursing home and developed pressure ulcers as a result of neglect or abuse, you may be entitled to compensation.
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