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What are bedsores?

When most in New York City think of nursing home abuse, they likely limit it to actions taken by a caretaker. Yet if you have a loved in a nursing home or care center, one of the greatest threats he or she may face may not be due to something that staff members are doing, but rather what they are not doing. Pressure ulcers (or bedsores, as they are more commonly called) pose a great risk to long-term care facility residents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that nearly 24 percent of nursing home residents may be at risk of developing them. Understanding what they are and how they occur may help you prevent them from being a problem your loved one ever has to deal with.

Bedsores are injuries to the skin that arise due to prolonged pressure. The pressure applied between the skin tissue and a hard surface is often greater than that of the blood flowing to that area delivering the nutrients and oxygen that tissue needs to survive. After being deprived of these nutrients for an extended period of time, that tissue may eventually begin to die.

These injuries begin as areas of irritation followed by the breaking of the skin and the development of crater-like ulcers in which the underlying dead tissue becomes exposed. In the latter stages of bedsore development, your loved one could be at risk for developing severe infections that require the amputation of limbs or even lead to death.

If your loved one is confined to a wheelchair or a bed, he or she must be constantly repositioned in order to keep certain areas of his or her skin exposed to pressure. The failure of nursing home staff to do so may contribute to the rapid development of bedsores. 

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