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We try our best to find the best nursing homes for our parents. We look into the care the facility provides, the staff that manages the residents and even its location. However, we can never guarantee that a home is perfect behind closed doors.

You may be surprised what nursing home staff deals with behind those doors – including a growing prevalence of bedsores.

What are bedsores?

According to the Mayo Clinic, bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure to the surface. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Changes in skin color or texture
  • Swelling
  • Pus-like draining
  • Areas that feel warmer or cooler to the touch
  • Tender parts of the skin

People often find bedsores near their heels, ankles, hips, shoulder blades and tailbones after spending an extended period in chairs or bed – unable to change their position. It’s the inability to change the position that makes residents in nursing homes especially vulnerable.

Patients who cannot move on their own rely on nursing staff to move them frequently and change their positions to prevent bedsores from forming. With more homes being understaffed, bed sores may increase across residents.

Are they treatable?

The short answer is usually. If symptoms appear and you see a small sore on your loved one, it’s time to head to the doctor’s office. The faster you consult with a health care provider, the more likely the bedsore is treatable and will heal completely.

If a patient waits too long for treatment, the sore may not heal properly or become life-threatening in some instances. The dangers come from the possibility of an infection growing from the sore and spreading to the blood, heart and bone. It may even lead to cancer if the sore is left long-term without treatment.

These dangers make it crucial for nursing home staff and family members to look out for the signs of bedsores and seek medical attention immediately. However, you may not be able to rely on the nursing home to keep close attention to your parents or grandparents.

In New York, you may also receive compensation for treatment if you file a lawsuit for nursing home negligence — only if the home’s actions contributed to the ailment. But medical treatment should remain your priority.