If your elderly mother, father or grandparent lives in a nursing home, you rely on staff to provide adequate care. After all, your loved one likely needs some assistance managing both everyday tasks and medical conditions. Unfortunately, though, nursing home neglect may be more common than you suspect.

The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that roughly 95% of nursing home residents have experienced neglect or witnessed it in others. Sadly, even this alarmingly high statistic probably does not accurately reflect all incidences of nursing home neglect. While there are many types of neglect in nursing homes, bedsores are often an early indicator of it.

Why bedsores form

Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, form when there is an interruption in the blood supply to the skin. This interruption causes the skin to die, turning the area into a sore, red or purplish wound.

Eventually, the bedsore may bleed or excrete fluids. If nursing home professionals do not take steps to treat the sore, your relative may develop a serious infection.

Where bedsores may appear

Typically, bedsores occur where the skin rubs against bedding, clothing, medical devices or other objects. While bedsores can appear anywhere on the body, they are more common in certain places. These include the following:

  • Hips, tailbone, buttocks and back
  • Heels, elbows, knees and other joints
  • Shoulders and shoulder blades
  • The back of the head

Who bedsores usually affect

Any nursing home resident who sits or lies for extended periods may be susceptible to bedsores. Nonetheless, some individuals are more vulnerable to the condition. If your elderly loved one has any of the following medical conditions, nursing home staff should watch for bedsores to develop:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Vascular disease
  • Poor circulation
  • Cellulitis
  • Mobility difficulties

Even if your loved one is prone to developing bedsores, they are not inevitable. With close monitoring and ongoing care, nurses can usually uncover and treat bedsores before they become a life-threatening medical emergency.