Bedsores: A Sign of Nursing Home Abuse?

Pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores) are sores that are caused by unreleased pressure or rubbing on the skin. Pressure sores have a reputation for being easy to prevent but difficult to treat. They are frequently found on individuals in nursing homes that are confined to beds and wheelchairs. When a patient in a nursing home develops a pressure sore, it is often the result of the nursing home’s failure to properly observe, nourish, hydrate, reposition, or clean the resident.

Upon admission to a nursing home, a resident should be assessed for risk of pressure sore development. This is often done using the Braden Scale. The Braden Scale rates the resident using the following six factors: sensory perception, moisture, activity, mobility, nutrition, and friction and shear. After evaluation using the Braden Scale, a plan to avoid formation of pressure sores can be formed.

Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not properly evaluate the resident or follow through with their plans to avoid pressure sore formation. Once a pressure sore forms, it is difficult to treat. Minor cases can be treated with conservative wound care, while more extreme cases can require surgical debridement or even amputation. Unfortunately, pressure sores are often just the beginning, as they can be a sign of more significant neglect or abuse.