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Bedsores a telltale sign of elder neglect

Mistreatment of vulnerable adults in nursing homes can take many forms. Hitting, rough handling, binding and verbal abuse are all egregious offenses that threaten the health and dignity of people who can no longer fully care for themselves. But the most common danger to nursing home patients is simply neglect -- nursing home employees either failing to do their jobs or not having the training and resources to help and protect patients.

Unfortunately, vulnerable adults aren't always able to express how they are being neglected, and that is why Orange County residents with a loved one in a nursing home should keep an eye out for the telltale signs. For example, bedsores are a common indicator that a loved one isn't being properly cared for.

Bedsores are ulcers that come about because of unrelieved pressure beneath the skin. The Bedsore Institute offers some guidance in preventing and treating bedsores, and nursing homes in California and throughout the country should take these necessary steps to protect patients' health:

  • Identify patients who may be likely to experience bedsores.
  • Create a schedule for repositioning patients to prevent pressure from building up beneath the skin.
  • Keep the patient's head low enough so that pressure doesn't build up in the torso and lower extremities.
  • Let the patient lie on a surface that reduces pressure.
  • And address any nutrition issues that might lead to the possibility of bedsores.

Dangerous infections can take hold in pressure ulcers, and after prolonged neglect, these wounds can threaten a patient's life. It may be necessary in such cases to take legal action to protect a loved one and help prevent future neglect.

Source: Bedsore Institute, "Prevention & Treatment Of Bedsores," 2013 

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