Being an advocate for an aging loved one often means monitoring their health. Those with compromised mobility and declining mental acuity often have a hard time speaking up on their own behalf and asserting themselves. Family members and close friends must, therefore, play an active role in protecting vulnerable adults from the risks of assisted living facilities and extended hospitalization.
Those who reside in nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other facilities that provide residential support to older adults frequently develop bedsores, which may be an early warning sign of neglect. Family members can protect their loved ones from poor medical outcomes by monitoring them carefully for the early warning signs of bedsores.
Pressure points are where the sores develop
Medical experts also call bedsores pressure ulcers because they are the result of the body’s weight pushing down on itself without any relief. Pressure ulcers frequently develop in places where the body contacts the bed or chair on which someone rests. Some of the highest-risk body parts include:
- the back of the head
- the back of the heels
- the buttocks
- the tailbone or hipbones
- the shoulder blades
- the backs and sides of someone’s knees
When visiting a loved one at a nursing home, it may be good to physically inspect these areas or discuss if someone has had any pain or discomfort in those regions recently. Family members might help someone spot bed sores early enough to stave off worsening wounds or an infection that might arise without proper intervention.
Severe bedsores may necessitate legal action
When a facility fails to maintain a basic standard of care that involves providing proper cushioning and rotation to prevent bedsore development, residents could suffer painful wounds and may develop infections because of that poor standard of care. Family members of those injured in a nursing home may be able to bring a claim against the facility that can help prompt changes to the treatment on care standards for the residents there and also can potentially secure compensation for the suffering their loved one endured and the cost to treat their injuries.
Identifying bedsores as early as possible can make it easier for people concerned about a loved one’s quality of life to effectively advocate on their behalf and, if appropriate, to seek legal guidance in order to address the underlying cause(s) of the sores.