Bedsores

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Introduction

Elder abuse is a very serious topic and one that is not discussed as often as it should be. Furthermore, elder abuse cases are becoming more prevalent across the country. Since the number of senior citizens entering nursing homes is increasing, there has been a need for nursing homes to hire more staff members. Unfortunately, many of these staff members come without proper experience or qualifications. Moreover, assisted living facilities often attempt to cut costs by hiring individuals for less pay without screening them or viewing criminal records.

Both of these factors serve to make elder abuse an increasingly common problem, and family members must be able to recognize warning signs. One of the most common warning signs of abuse or neglect of an elderly person are bedsores.

What Are Bedsores?

When an elderly person, or any person, is bed-ridden for a length of time, it is quite possible for them to develop bedsores, also referred to as pressure ulcers or pressure sores. Bedsores develop due to pressure from the body lying on a bed without changing position, friction, sheer force, or as a reaction to certain types of medications. Any time a person\'s body remains stationary for too long, blood vessels are pinched, causing skin cells to abnormally die off or shed.

Bedsores are not always a sign of elder abuse. A person in a hospital might develop bedsores just as easily as an elder in a nursing home, but in the specific context of elder abuse, bedsores are often suspicious. The reason bedsores are suspicious in seniors is because nobody expects a healthy senior to be bed-ridden for days. However, bedsores are fairly common, particularly among older individuals, so it is important to consider the stages of a bedsore. The first and second stages are less of a concern because they are often unavoidable. Characteristics of these stages include redness, unusual appearance of infected area, or blisters. Once pressure is relieved or friction is reduced, most of these ailments clear up on their own. Bedsores may be signs of abuse when they enter the third and fourth stages. At the third stage of a skin ulcer, all layers of the skin have been damaged. At the fourth stage, the ulcer has deepened as far as the muscle, tendon, or bone. When a bedsore has progressed to these stages, it usually indicates that proper treatment has not been administered, and legal action is needed.

Dealing with Bedsores

Bedsores, like any other sore on the skin, are going to be painful at first. Eventually the pain should subside with time if treatment is prescribed. If you know somebody that is suffering from bedsores then you need to bring him or her to the doctor. Depending on the seriousness of the sores and stages they are in, the doctor may prescribe ointments or simple antibiotics to treat the patient. However, more damaged tissue may require surgical procedures, laser surgeries, or other procedures for the removal of dead skin. However, if treated promptly, it is uncommon for bedsores to develop to these stages.

Legalities

There are a number of different legal issues that might be involved with bedsores, especially if they are the result of elder abuse or negligence. If you suspect that the bedsores on the senior in question have developed as a result of neglect or abuse, it might be in your best interest to contact a qualified and experienced elder and nursing home abuse lawyer, who can provide you with advice on what to do next. He or she can help you file formal complaints, arrange investigations, file legal claims, and represent the injured party in court if necessary.

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