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Have a loved one in a nursing home? Learn about bed sores

When it became clear that your aging loved one could no longer live alone, you began searching for a nursing home that you felt would provide him or her with the level of care you expect. You may have toured several nursing homes in and around Chicago before finding one that met the needs of your loved one and your expectations.

Even though you believe he or she is in a safe place, you still worry about whether your loved one really does receive the care administrators promised you. One way to determine that is by watching for bed sores. While it is true that they can occur even under the best of circumstances, it does not mean they should go untreated and that further preventative measures should not occur.

Where to look for bed sores

Certain areas of the body see more bed sores than others. They are most prevalent in the following locations:

  • The buttocks area
  • The elbow
  • The back of the calves
  • The hip bone and hips
  • The ankle bones
  • The back or bottom of the heel
  • The back of the head
  • The shoulder and upper back area

As you can see, these areas of the body have the most contact with a surface such as a chair or bed. If you see any indication of irritation or sores in these areas, there could be a problem that should be brought to the attention of the nursing home staff.

How bed sores will look

Bed sores have different stages. During each stage, they will have a different appearance and become progressively worse and more dangerous to your loved one's health. In Stage I, the wound will have an appearance similar to a sunburn. The skin may or may not be hot to the touch. In Stage II, a blister and open sore appear.  In Stage III, a crater or hole develops in which tissue, body fat and maybe even bone are visible.

By Stage IV, your loved one will experience excruciating pain and the hole will expose bone, nerves and/or muscle. If you loved one's bed sores reach Stage IV, it may take surgery to repair the damage. However, that may not be the most disturbing part of the fact that your loved one has at least one Stage IV bed sore. The disturbing part is that it happened in the first place.

The staff into whose hands you placed your aging relative failed to provide the standard of care he or she deserves and you expected. If your concerns regarding bed sores in Stages I and II go unresolved, you may keep a closer eye on your loved one. Should you find your loved one continues to suffer from neglect or abuse, you may be entitled to file a complaint against the nursing home and anyone else who may be legally liable.

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