What Do You Do If a Loved One in a Nursing Home Has Bedsores?
When you discover a loved one in a nursing home suffers from bedsores, your first instinct may be to remove them from the nursing home immediately. Yet an immediate change may cause your loved one more harm than good. Instead, work with an experienced attorney to address your loved one’s needs without disrupting their daily lifestyle.
Why Should I Let My Loved One Stay in the Nursing Home?
Bedsores may seem like a sure sign that your loved one shouldn’t stay in their current nursing home. Making a hasty decision to move them, however, may not be the best response.
First, consider whether or not you can provide the care your loved one needs. If you move them from their current nursing home, where will they go? Will they move into a new nursing home or live with you?
Housing a loved one with intensive medical needs, including bedsores, can be challenging. As the AARP notes, many households lack the accessibility and safety features an elderly family member needs, such as barrier-free access to entrances and exits. You will also need to consider how you will care for your loved one’s bedsores and other ongoing medical conditions.
Moving your loved one to a new nursing home also comes with challenges. Getting the new staff up to speed with your loved one’s medical history, medications, or routine can be an initial challenge. The staff will need to learn these things about your loved one while also caring for their bedsores.
Meanwhile, a move一whether to a new nursing home or a family member’s home 一 may be disorienting to your loved one. Their familiar routine is disrupted. They lose contact with their friends among the nursing home residents and staff. This disruption can cause additional mental and physical health problems by increasing your loved one’s stress levels.
When You Discover a Loved One Has Bedsores
When you realize a loved one has bedsores, you have several options including to move your loved one, do nothing, or attempt to work with and address the bedsores with the current nursing home staff.
Report the situation to the nursing home staff immediately. If possible, also report the situation to your loved one’s physician.
Ask nursing home staff to make a plan to resolve your loved one’s bedsores. The National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel recommends that a plan to address bedsores include topics such as:
- Regularly shifting your loved one’s position to distribute pressure and prevent bedsores,
- Addressing comfort needs through additional padding, pillows, or mattresses designed to help prevent bedsores,
- Following a hygiene and skin protection regimen that includes cleaning and using moisturizers or other products as recommended by your loved one’s physician, and
- Ensuring your loved one receives adequate nutrition and hydration to help the body heal.
Check on your loved one regularly. Also, check with the nursing home to determine whether staff are following the plan to resolve your loved one’s bedsores.
Finally, document your efforts. Keep a log and write down the date and time you spoke to nursing home staff, the name of the person you talked to, and what you discussed. Do the same during any conversations with your loved one’s physician. These notes will help you stay organized as you work toward helping your loved one recover from bedsores. They will also help you demonstrate your efforts to outside agencies or during a legal proceeding, if needed.
What To Do When the Nursing Home’s Efforts Don’t Resolve the Problem
Often, alerting nursing home staff and your loved one’s physician will result in changes that allow your loved one’s pressure sores to heal. If the sores don’t heal or appear to get worse despite your efforts, you can take additional steps.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) provides a method for reporting suspected neglect in nursing home settings. To make a report on behalf of a loved one in a long-term care setting like a nursing home, contact the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) at 1-800-868-9095.
As part of the Department on Aging, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program addresses complaints involving the treatment of South Carolina’s nursing home residents, including concerns about neglect. The agency even offers volunteer opportunities for those who wish to help South Carolina nursing home residents.
In addition, reach out to a nursing home neglect attorney to explore your legal options. The severity of the pressure ulcers, health impact on your loved one, the care plan execution, and the response of the care facility may require legal intervention. The attorneys at Steinberg Law Firm are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.