What can I do to prevent this from happening?

PatientThe best prevention against a bedsore is body movement, so that the patient’s blood can freely circulate throughout the body. Do not assume that the staff is repositioning your loved one.  If possible, encourage him to stay out of his bed or wheelchair, or move around as much as possible. If the patient’s health prevents this, he must be turned and/or repositioned at least every two hours. Frequent turning or repositioning prevents prolonged pressure on any one area of skin, and thus deters bedsores.

Family members should consistently look for skin discoloration on the patient’s body. This is usually the earliest sign that a bedsore is developing.  Do this even if the nursing staff reassures you that they are already taking care of this. Well-trained, reputable nurses will welcome the help of family members in conducting “skin checks.” Less-than-dedicated nurses may feel threatened by the family’s involvement, but will also understand that the family is supervising their work, and may be more diligent with your loved one.

If you have any suspicion that a bedsore is developing, immediately notify both the head nurse and the Director of Nursing. Do not be intimidated by nursing staff. In this situation, it is often the “squeaky wheel” that receives the care. Make sure that the attending physician has also been notified. Bedsores can develop very quickly, sometimes in mere hours.

If a bedsore is not identified and aggressively treated, it will likely progress and may become infected, especially if the patient is incontinent. Be proactive. Continue to check for new bedsores, and signs of progression or infection. If you believe that the staff at a hospital or nursing home is not providing the care or services needed by your loved one, consider the following:

  • Meet with the Director of Nursing, Administrator and/or owner of the facility;
  • File a written grievance report with the facility;
  • Demand to speak with or meet with the attending physician;
  • Hire an independent nursing agency or doctor to evaluate the patient; and/or
  • File a complaint with the Department of Health Services (go here for instructions).

Finally, keep a journal. Write down the names and titles of the people you speak to, as well as dates, times and the content of your conversations. Let them see you doing this, so that they know you are an organized and credible witness to their neglectful conduct. This may cause them to increase their caregiving efforts toward your loved one. If not, your records will provide a detailed and powerful history of your loved one’s neglect, if litigation becomes necessary.

Continue to:

When is a bedsore the result of neglectful care?

What can I do if I think my loved one developed a pressure sore because of neglect?

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. None of the medical information is intended to be a substitute for professional medical judgment. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

Injured Elder