When you found a suitable nursing care facility for your parent, you likely assumed the staff would be attentive to your loved one's routine needs as well as any medical issues. This may include help with daily tasks like bathing, changing clothes and getting to the bathroom. If your loved one was ill or bedridden, assistance with these actions that most people take for granted may be even more important.
After lying or sitting in one position for too long, one may soon develop pressure ulcers, commonly called bedsores. These sores result when bodily tissue compresses between bone and another surface without relief. This restricts blood flow to those areas, which eventually causes the tissue to die. Pressure sores are preventable in many cases and treatable in others. However, a nursing home staff must be alert for them before they escalate into a potentially tragic end.
Recognizing pressure ulcers
A well-trained nursing staff will know the signs that indicate a pressure ulcer is forming. This may include skin turning darker or lighter than normal, becoming soft in some areas, or feeling hot to the touch. In fact, if your loved one's caretakers were conscientious, they would have checked your parent during bathing or changing, especially in the most commonly affected areas, including:
- The backs of the heels, knees, ankles or other parts of the leg that may rub against the sheets
- Places along the spine that contact the bed
- The area below the tailbone called the sacrum
- The sitting bones, which are the rounded bones under your pelvis where most of your weigh rests when you sit
- Certain parts of the hip
- The area of the head that rests on the pillow or the back of a wheelchair
Preventing pressure ulcers in the elderly is not always easy. Since your loved one's skin may have been delicate, he or she may have been more susceptible to ulcers. However, if the nursing staff had frequently changed your parent's position in the bed or chair, provided extra cushioning, and kept the skin clean and well lubricated, these actions may have greatly reduced the potential for or severity of the sores. Good nutrition to keep your loved one from becoming too thin is important as well.
If you fear that negligence on the part of the nursing home staff led to pressure ulcers that caused injury or resulted in the death of your loved one, you have every reason to want answers. By reaching out to an Ohio attorney, you may have access to the resources you need to find your answers and seek justice for your loved one.