Pressure ulcers – also called pressure sores or bed sores – are painful, and they’re potentially deadly. The occur most often in patients who have limited mobility, which is why we so often hear of them in conjunction with elderly residents in nursing homes and care facilities. Early stages of bedsores may only need medication, but later stages could require surgery. Now, a recent article in the Victoria Advocate online suggests that a proper diet might help treat them.
Dietician Lindsay Adams recommends increases protein, vitamins A and C, as well as iron and zinc, as these are nutrients used in healing wounds. Since a pressure sore is, simply put, a skin wound, Ms. Adams argues that increasing a person’s intake of these specific nutrients could help a patient heal more quickly and even potentially prevent the sores from forming. The Mayo Clinic supports this as a form of treatment but makes no argument as to whether or not this kind of diet would work as a preventative specifically for bedsores.
Bedsores and nursing home neglect
The CDC claims that as many as 1/10 of all nursing home residents may suffer with bedsores, often a key sign that a patient is being neglected or abused. Pressure sores are often the result of:
- Constant pressure. One of the easiest ways to prevent bedsores is to physically reposition a patient. Patients who are bound to their bed or a wheelchair are more likely to develop pressure sores if preventative action isn’t taken.
- Poor hygiene. Patients who are incontinent but cannot physically clean themselves are at risk of developing pressure ulcers from friction. It also increases the risk of developing an infection at the point of the wound.
- Loss of sensation. Older patients may not feel pain or discomfort at the site of a sore, and thus may not realize they have one. If medical personnel don’t perform proper check-ups on their patients, those patients have an increased chance of developing an infection.
- Weights loss. Less “padding” on the bones means an increased chance of friction.
- Dehydration. It is crucial that patients in nursing homes stay hydrated. If a patient isn’t getting enough fluids, his or her skin will dry out, increasing the chance of pressure sores caused by rubbing against the sheets of the bed or cushion of a wheelchair.
What patients with bedsores really need is more attentive care. This form of medical negligence could lead to deadly infections if left untreated for too long. If you think your loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home, give us a call; we can help.