The development of a bedsore (or pressure sore) in an elderly or bedridden loved one can be a scary ordeal. Bedsores are painful and often require months of treatment before they heal. Bedsores can also be fatal if not cared for properly; therefore, it is important that family members are extremely involved in the treatment process.
The following list offers practical tips on how to treat a bedsore. Families can also use the list as a gauge to determine whether their loved one is receiving appropriate care from the nursing home or hospital staff. In addition, I encourage you to read ahead to the legal rights of a bedsore patient. Bedsores are a clear sign of neglect in nursing home or hospital setting. You have the legal right to hold these facilities accountable for the pain and suffering they have caused your loved one.
Bedsore Prevention Methods
- Keep Moving– Ideally, a bedsore patient should move every 15 minutes to keep pressure off of the sore. If this frequency is not possible (as in the case of an immobile resident), the bedsore patient must be moved at least every two hours. He or she should also be kept off of the sore as much as possible. Special mattresses, foam blocks or special chairs may help keep your loved one comfortable during the repositioning process.
- Keep it Clean– The bedsore should be cleaned with Saline solution and wrapped with an occlusive dressing. Occlusive dressing is a clear transparent bandage that can seal itself to the wound and is found at your local medical supply store. The bandage should also be left on for a few days before it is changed. If the dressing is changed too often, it will inhibit the body’s natural growth factors from connecting with the raw tissue.
- Get Healthy– Malnutrition is common in bedsore patients. This condition contributes to the easy breakdown of the skin. To promote healing, the bedsore patient should eat plenty of protein, take 500 mg of Vitamin C supplements twice a day (as always, consult with a doctor before taking supplements) and drink 8 glass of water a day to prevent dehydration. It is a proven fact that patients who receive proper nutrition will not only heal faster, but will be less likely to get another bedsore in the future.
Legal Rights of a Bedsore Patient
Nursing homes and hospitals have specific guidelines aimed at preventing bedsores. Therefore, if a bedsore develops, it’s safe to conclude that someone was not following the rules. These sores are so unacceptable that insurance companies are now refusing to pay doctors for bedsore treatment.
The reason for this is simple—bedsores are easier to prevent than treat. In most cases, bedsores are just the result of carelessness and neglect. Fortunately, insurance companies are not the only ones taking a stand against such negligent behavior. Bedsore patients and family members have turned to the court system to hold hospitals and nursing homes responsible for the pain and suffering they have caused. And while the hospital or nursing home may insist that bedsores are unavoidable even under the best circumstances, nothing can be further than the truth.
How to Get Help
Your first priority is the physical health of your loved one. Once they are stable and being treated as recommended above, you should contact an elder abuse attorney to discuss your specific case. At Mininno Law Office, we use a unique team of medical and legal professionals that work together to cover every angle of your bedsore case. Our staff nurse will answer any medical questions you may have, while our team of elder abuse attorneys will fight aggressively for your rights in court.
To get started with our licensed RN, call toll-free (856) 833-0600 or fill out the case evaluation form on the right side of the page.