The limited ability of many seniors in Texas nursing homes to move about on their own requires their caretakers to shift them around so they are not lying in their beds for prolonged periods of time. When seniors lie in bed for too long, they are at risk for developing bedsores. So a senior who remains unattended may end up with bedsores as a result of neglect.
According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores are pressure ulcers. Pressure that is constantly applied to the skin, such as when a person lies in bed in a single position for a long time, can hamper blood flow to skin tissues, which cuts off oxygen and nutrients, and eventually damage the skin, forming an ulcer. Generally, pressure ulcers are more likely to form over weak or thin skin, areas where there is not a lot of fat or muscle under the skin.
Bedsores also develop for other reasons. Seniors, because their skin is weaker, are more vulnerable to friction injury as their skin rubs against bed sheets, blankets, or their clothing. A shear can also create a bedsore when a senior slides in bed but the skin pulls in the opposite direction. Sometimes bones like the tailbone can cause skin to resist the movement of a senior and cause friction.
A bedsore might also be an indication of further medical problems or neglect. Some people at risk of bedsores have problems sensing pain. Without the ability to sense or feel pain, a senior might not be alerted to shift positions in bed to avoid developing a bedsore. Also, bedsores may develop as a result of malnutrition. Since it is the duty of a nursing home to keep their residents nourished, a bedsore may be a further indication that a senior is not getting needed food or nutrients.
It is cause for concern if a nursing home resident starts to develop bedsores, as it is not only a possible sign that the senior is not being attended, but bedsores can develop into something more serious and life threatening, like squamous cell carcinoma, which is a form of cancer, or skin infections like cellulitis. Bedsores may also result in infections of joints and bones, which can make it painful to move around.
This article is written to provide general information on the topic of nursing home neglect and is not to be interpreted as medical or legal advice.