When someone has trouble standing or walking on their own, especially as they age, they will likely start to spend the majority of their day in bed or a chair. Staying in the same place will drastically reduce their risk of a fall that could leave them with severe injuries or even a fracture that results in severe infection and potentially death.
However, staying in the same position for long amounts of time also create some rest now of a different kind of injury. Bedsores, known in the medical community as pressure ulcers, are a consequence of staying in the same position for a protracted amount of time. Although they can easily occur, they shouldn’t. They are a major warning sign of neglect in a care facility.
How do bedsores form?
The pressure of the body’s weight and gravity on a particular location, such as the hips, shoulders, ankles or backs of the knees and head, can result in injuries that at first only look like red marks or inflammation. However, these can progress over time and become severe injuries.
Bad bedsores can actually go all the way through the skin and muscle to the bone, leaving a patient at incredibly high risk for infection.
Is it possible to avoid bedsores when confined to a bed or chair?
Despite what you may think about those living a relatively sedentary lifestyle due to age or medical conditions, it is not inevitable that they develop pressure ulcers. Instead, these wounds are the consequence of inadequate care and support.
With frequent movement, adjusting where a person sits and carefully supporting or cushioning parts of the body that receive the most pressure, caregivers can drastically reduce or even eliminate the risk of bedsores or pressure ulcers. Minor bedsores can occur even with excellent care, but caregivers must monitor for them and be proactive to prevent their worsening once they develop.
Bedsores that have started to progress into the tissue underneath the skin are often an indicator of inadequate care and potential neglect in a nursing home facility.