Common Areas for Bedsores in Washington DC Nursing Homes

Bedsores can form very quickly, which is why it is imperative that nursing home staff check residents’ skin on a daily basis and shift mobility-impaired residents several times a day to prevent these ulcers from developing.

There are common areas for bedsores in Washington DC nursing homes, and it is these areas to which staff must pay particular attention.

A DC bedsore lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for dealing with such a debilitating and avoidable injury as bedsores.

What Qualifies as a Bedsore

“Bedsore” is the colloquial term for pressure ulcers, also known as decubitus ulcers. These ulcers result from prolonged skin pressure, and if left untreated, can result in serious medical conditions. The lack of blood flow to an area keeps it from receiving sufficient oxygen and nutrients and encourages ulcer formation.

In a worst-case scenario, a patient can die from a bedsore if the infection spreads to the bloodstream, causing septicemia, or blood poisoning. Some patients may develop gangrene, necessitating amputation of the affected area to save their lives. Other complications depend on the bacteria involved in the infection, which may include necrotizing fasciitis, caused by horrific flesh-eating bacteria.

While a few thousand people may officially die from bedsore complications annually, the actual number is much higher, since these causes of death originating from bedsores are not listed on a death certificate.

Common Areas Where Bedsores Occur

Because bedsores are pressure injuries, they most often form in bony areas with little fat or muscle. It is the type of pressure, however, that determines where the damage will form. In nursing homes, some residents are unconscious or immobile, while others spend much of their time in wheelchairs.

If nursing home staff does not shift an immobile person every few hours, or move immobile areas of a wheelchair-bound patient, bedsores may form. The most common areas for bedsores include:

  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Heels
  • Knees
  • Shoulder blades
  • Back of the head
  • Elbows

These are not the only locations for pressure injuries. Anywhere the skin folds over itself is also a vulnerable location for pressure sore development. If a patient requires some type of medical equipment, such as an oxygen tube that puts constant pressure on the skin, an ulcer may form on the person’s cheeks or ears. No one would call such an injury a “bedsore,” but the cause behind it is the same.

Bedsore Prevention

These terrible ulcers are easily preventable. In addition to repositioning the patient regularly, the nursing home staff should ensure that a patient’s skin is clean and dry. Early signs of bedsores include skin discoloration, fever, and pain.

If a resident cannot communicate verbally that they are in pain, the staff should have sufficient training that they recognize non-verbal signs of discomfort.

Urinary or fecal incontinence also cause skin tissue to deteriorate, so patients suffering from these issues require extra scrutiny on the part of staff. Patients with diabetes, vascular disease or low blood pressure also need additional attention.

How a DC Nursing Home Abuse Bedsore Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one developed bedsores in a Washington DC nursing home, you likely need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney specializing in nursing home abuse. A well-run nursing home should never have patients experiencing severe, life-threatening bedsores. Call us today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.