Pressure ulcers could be a sign of nursing home neglect

There are many different things that could be a symptom of nursing home neglect. One of those things is the presence of bedsores. Pressure ulcers can appear in any patients who do not move a sufficient amount of time including those in hospitals and nursing homes.

The American College of Physicians—the chair of which is a hospitalist at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, recently published clinical guidelines on the issue. Specifically it focused on the treatment, prevention and risk assessment of pressure ulcers. The guidelines were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The first thing caretakers should do is to determine how great the risk is that the patient will develop a pressure ulcer. In doing so, the following should be taken into consideration:

  • The existence of comorbid conditions such as malnutrition, edema, diabetes, incontinence
  • Cognitive and physical impairments
  • Lower body weight
  • Race
  • Age

Those whose risks indicate they could be prone to bed sores should be watched and steps should be taken to try to prevent them.

If someone develops pressure ulcers the report provided several treatment options. The first is electrical stimulation as adjunctive therapy. Next is hydrocolloid or foam dressings. Last, protein or amino acid supplementation may be effective.

Of course the best possible thing for all involved is for them to be prevented. Advanced static overlays could be of great help in this. Though higher risk alternating-air mattresses were not recommended, a physical therapist and certified wound specialist who had nothing to do with the study, indicated that with properly trained clinicians in specialized settings, they could be effective.

While bed sores can occur in settings where nursing home negligence is not involved, their presence could be a sign to look a little closer. If nursing home negligence is involved, a lawsuit could be appropriate.

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