Preventing Pressure Sores in Nursing Homes:
Bedsores can appear on any part of the body. In nursing homes the most commonly observed decubitus ulcers are on the back, bottom, and heels. To combat bedsores, skilled nursing facilities have instated positioning policies to help reduce and prevent pressure sores in residents.
Residents who are unable to position themselves are re-positioned on a timetable that reduces pressure on parts of the body in contact with pressure causing materials says California Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Steven C. Peck.
Decubitus ulcers are categorized in stages:
The skin in the area may appear pink, grey (ashen), swollen, and sensitive to the touch. This stage is treated by creams and protective barriers such as foam pads or booties for the heels.
Skin is red, swollen, and may have one or more blisters. The treatment for this stage is similar to stage 1. A positioning schedule may begin now if barriers have not prevented further skin damage.
Skin has broken and a wound resembling a crater is visible. The wound extends beyond the surface and deeper into skin layers. Treatment is more aggressive. Barriers, positioning schedules, removal of tissue that may be dying.
The wound extends very deep, beyond the skin and into the fat, muscle, and in severe cases- to the bone. Very aggressive treatment. While stage 4 is considered the worst, the degree of wound can vary within the stages. A bedsore can become infected at any stage and in the extreme end of stage 4 the sore may have dead tissue, known as ‘going necrotic’.
Decubitus ulcers are treated by aggressive positioning schedules, positioning devices, and barrier methods. Foam pads for wheelchairs, foam heel protectors or ‘booties’, an hourly re-positioning schedule – side to back to opposite side.
Creams are applied to reduce contact with urine or feces. These creams are very thick and can be hard to spread. They are designed to last much longer than typical ‘diaper’ creams.
In extreme cases a doctor may remove dead tissue, close the wound, or graft new skin to the area.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.