Many families in New Mexico have elderly loved ones who live in nursing facilities because they are no longer able to live on their own or have medical needs that require skilled care. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are real problems. Older adults may not be able to tell their loved ones what is happening to them because of aging-related issues. Some may be scared to tell because of being fearful of what will happen to them if they do. This makes it important for adult children to watch for signs that their loved ones are being neglected or abused. One of these signs is the development of stage three and four bedsores, or pressure ulcers. Here are some signs that people need to watch for.
Signs of a stage three pressure ulcer
Stage three bedsores are sores that have broken through the top two skin layers and into the lipid layer below. Bedsores occur when people are left lying in the same position for lengthy periods. If the nursing home staff are not turning people over who are unable to turn over themselves because of physical disabilities, bedsores can develop. When they get to stage three, they are serious injuries that exhibit:
- Foul odor emanating from the sore
- Sores with a cratered appearance
If you see these signs, your loved one needs immediate medical attention. Recovering from a stage three pressure ulcer can take up to four months and will likely require antibiotics and other treatments.
Signs of a stage four pressure ulcer
These are the most serious type of bedsores and result from nursing home abuse and neglect. These wounds extend through all the layers of the skin and the fatty tissue layer. They impact the tendons, ligaments and muscles. In the worst cases, they can also impact the bones and cartilage. The signs of a stage four pressure ulcer include:
- Blackened skin
- A sore that is deep
- The ability to see bone or muscles
- Drainage and pus
- A dark, hardened substance inside of the wound
Stage four pressure ulcers require hospitalization and immediate treatment. These types of sores will likely require surgery and can take as long as two years to heal.
If you notice bedsores on your loved one, you should get help for them immediately. You may also want to report the nursing facility to the state’s adult protective services bureau and look for a different place for your loved one to live. A nursing home abuse attorney may help you hold the nursing home liable for its negligence.