When you helped your loved one transition to a nursing facility, you may have worried about the quality of care that he or she would receive. You have a right, of course, to reasonably expect that quality care will be provided on a daily basis. Sadly, this is not always the case in Texas nursing homes.
If the nursing staff responsible for providing healthcare to your loved one fail in their obligations, your family member could suffer a severe illness, injury or worse. Often nursing staff are overworked because a nursing home company chooses not to sufficiently staff the facility in order to maximize profits. A major issue that can come up if proper care isn’t being provided is bed sores. If you’ve noticed bed sores on your loved one’s body, it can be a sign of a very serious problem.
Bed sores most often appear on certain parts of the body
If you are able to have access to the facility, it is a good idea to closely monitor your family member’s appearance and skin after he or she moves into a nursing home. If something doesn’t look or seem right, you can request a meeting with administrators to inquire about it. If you’re not satisfied with the answers they give you, you can ask that they further investigate the situation or report the situation to the Texas Health and Human Services Department.
Because bedsores occur when there is application of constant pressure to the skin between a surface and a bony prominence, bed sores often appear on the heels of the feet or the buttocks/sacral area, or even on the back of the head. A severe bed sore can take a long time to heal and can even be fatal. After a bedsore develops, your loved one could be at risk of developing gangrene of the extremity requiring amputation, and your loved one may be at risk for life-threatening systemic infection (sepsis – or bacteria in the bloodstream).
Bed sores often occur in the context of increased moisture over prolonged periods of time, which can lead to skin maceration and breakdown. This can be seen in a resident who is incontinent and left to lie unattended in his or her own waste for long periods of time. When nursing homes do not sufficiently staff to provide adequate resident care, call bells go unanswered and soiled sheets go unchanged with deadly consequences.
Bed sores are preventable, and nursing home care providers know what to do to prevent bed sores
Nursing home residents are often at high risk for bed sores. This is especially true if your family member needs help to move around. The amount of assistance your loved one needs to move around is required to be documented in your loved one’s medical records and the nursing home must develop a care plan to ensure that these needs are met. For example, a patient with a spinal cord injury who is unable to independently move must be turned every two hours to ensure that bed sores do not develop.
Those tasked with taking care of your loved one on a daily basis must know that he or she needs to be turned and to have help moving. Making sure a person doesn’t stay in the same position for too long helps prevent bed sores. Care providers also know to use bed sheets and other tools when lifting a patient to avoid the friction that can cause bed sores. Nursing homes must also hire nutritionists to make sure that each resident is receiving adequate nutrition to prevent skin breakdown and promote healing when bedsores do develop.
If nursing negligence causes your loved one injury
Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers, and they can be severely painful – even deadly. If your family member develops bed sores, it is critical for the nursing staff to tend to the wounds.
Your loved one shouldn’t have to suffer because a nursing home is not staffed adequately to allow staff members to do their jobs. If that happens, you can do something about it.