When families commit their elder loved ones to the care of nursing homes, no matter how much due diligence they may have done, they will be turning over a family member to the care of strangers.

That involves trust, and a degree of risk.

While most nursing home experiences are indeed positive, many are not. One key warning sign to be on guard against at all times is bedsores.

Bedsores are painful wounds that generally result from a lack of attention and care, especially for immobile nursing home residents. If left lying in bed or sitting in a wheelchair for too long, circulation can be impeded and sores may develop in areas of the body where skin presses against bone. Infections can easily take root and lead to major health problems that may even become life-threatening.

Perhaps the worst part of all is that bedsores are mostly avoidable.

Getting to know an elder family member’s nursing home protocols and caregiving staff can be key prevention items, as taking initiative to prevent bedsores before they happen can be the best overall strategy against them. One of the most important things to learn and stay on top of is the frequency in which your aging family member is moved and repositioned.

A number of environmental supports can also be critical. For example, finding the right mattress to create comfort and reduce shearing, friction, and the pressure of skin weighing on bones. In fact, there are actually special mattresses designed specifically to support immobile seniors and reduce the likelihood of bedsores.

Improved seating options, especially for wheelchair bound seniors, heel protectors, and a movement and positioning schedule are also recommended to reduce bedsore risks.

Managing incontinence and bodily waste cannot be overstated. If proper attention isn’t paid, irritated skin could quickly lead to rashes, bedsores and infections, with catastrophic results. Taking aims to protect an aging loved one’s skin is imperative. This should be a priority for all nursing home caregivers, but being proactive in this regard will only benefit your elder family member.

If you suspect a nursing home is not taking proper preventative care of an elder friend or loved one, do not wait to consider speaking with an attorney. There’s only so much you can do by yourself. You may schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our experienced, local legal team to help you address this problem.