Nursing home residents that are not cared for properly are susceptible to developing bedsores that may become infected. If left untreated, infected sores can get worse and may lead to sepsis.
Bedsores, sometimes called pressure sores or ulcers, occur on areas of the skin under pressure from lying down in bed, sitting for long periods of time such as in a wheelchair, and even after wearing a cast or other immobilizing device.
It is important to provide adequate support surfaces to minimize bedsore formation and reposition elderly patients frequently in an effort to prevent bedsores or decrease pressure on existing bedsores so that they do not get worse.
Failure to take the necessary precautions to either prevent bedsores altogether or decrease pressure when a bedsore is detected can result in the area becoming infected. If minor infections are left untreated, more serious health issues can arise, including sepsis, an infection of the blood.
Sepsis is a life threatening illness caused by the body’s response to an infection. Bed sores left untreated can trigger the immune system to release chemicals into the blood stream to fight an infection causing dangerous inflammation throughout the whole body, sometimes leading to organ failure.
Sepsis illness ranges from mild to severe, with roughly half of all cases resulting in death. Vulnerable populations including the elderly are at higher risk for not only developing sepsis from untreated infections, but are more likely to succumb to the illness.
The main cause of bedsores among seniors is nursing home neglect. Nursing home staff have a responsibility to care for residents, which includes bedsore prevention. Providing adequate food and hydration to prevent malnutrition, attending to hygiene, repositioning residents on a regular basis, and properly moving residents to avoid injuries are necessary to prevent bedsore formation for residents who often lack mobility.
Nursing homes that neglect these responsibilities can cause a rapid deterioration in the health of vulnerable residents in their care. Many families of nursing home residents who have suffered nursing home neglect or abuse, often take legal action to hold nursing homes accountable for the needless suffering of their loved one. If your family member is a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse that has resulted in serious injury or death, it is important to seek help. Contact Des Moines nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer Marc A. Humphrey for immediate assistance at 515-331-3510.