Understanding and Preventing Bedsores

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When someone’s health or medical condition limits their activity capabilities, they may spend a large majority of their time in bed or sitting in a chair. As a result, they often sit in the same position for a long time – even hours. As their skin rests and rubs against the bony areas of the body, pressure sores can start to form.

Also known as bedsores, these pressure ulcers develop when the skin and tissues beneath break down due to pressure. This pressure is applied from the bones, and occurs because of prolonged sitting or lying in the same position. Pressure ulcers can even happen in settings where a patient receives ample care, though how they are treated and prevented in the future often determines if a caregiver or nursing home facility was negligent.

Where Pressure Sores Form

Pressure sores are most commonly found on the boney areas of the body, including:

  • Back of the head
  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Inner knees
  • Heels
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Upper thigh area

How Pressure Sores Are Prevented

In most cases, pressure sores can be prevented, but they do take some proactive behaviors and treatment by the caregivers. Some ways to reduce the development of bedsores include:

  1. Checking the skin daily. Caregivers should be checking the patient’s skin daily to determine if there are any reddened areas and if they are in need of attention. Reddening is often the first symptom of a bedsore forming and, by repositioning, the patient may avoid a sore altogether.
  2. Bathing the patient frequently. When skin is clean and moisturized, it can help keep the skin healthy and free from pressure sores.
  3. Using absorbent bed pads. Patients who have mobility issues are often unable to go to the bathroom. Because of accidents, they may sit in a soiled bed or sheet. Bed pads can be used to absorb the excess moisture in the case of an accident, ensuring that the skin is not constantly irritated by it.
  4. Repositioning the patient frequently. This is the best line of defense against bed sores. When a patient sits in the same position for hours at a time, the skin can form small ulcers. But, by changing their position every two hours while lying down and every hour while sitting, bedsores may be avoided.
  5. Using pillows on bedsore-prone areas. Pillows can help alleviate pressure on parts of the body that press together – such as the inner knees, when the patient is lying down.

Has Your Loved One Developed Bedsores?

If your loved one has been in a hospital or nursing home facility and developed bedsores, or those sores have become infected due to inattention, contact the attorneys at Horn Law. We hold caregivers responsible for their negligent actions, and we are here to defend the rights of your loved one. Call for a consultation at 816-795-7500, or fill out an online contact form.