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Pressure Sores are More of a Risk for Dementia Patients
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
Patients that have dementia face health risks that many other people with chronic illnesses do not.
One of the problems that dementia sufferers face which is potentially preventable is the development of pressure sores. These are also commonly known as bed sores or pressure ulcers and as the name suggests are caused when people lie prone on their bed for hours at a time. In most cases pressure sores are preventable and carers and hospital staff who are employed to care for dementia patients should be aware of the procedures which can help to prevent pressure sores developing.
Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. From time to time, a rest home or hospital that caters for dementia patients or residents primarily is found to be underperforming.
Not all rest homes are as bad as each other. However, it seems a pity that it takes what seems to be constant vigilance on the part of inspectors and family members to ensure that their loved ones who have been stricken down by Alzheimer’s disease or similar dementia problems get the care they deserve.
Often, a lack of proper procedures in place to prevent pressure sores amongst dementia patients may be just the tip of the iceberg. On further inspection a pattern of poor care behaviour is revealed at a rest home or hospital.
That’s what happened at the Summerfield Rest Home in Sutton-on-Sea recently when a small team of inspectors from the Care Quality Commission visited on 23rd February this year (2017). They found that the presence of pressure sores amongst some of the patients with dementia was only one of several “shortfalls in preventing avoidable accidents”.
There were several other problems at the Rest Home apart from not preventing pressure sores including things like torn or worn carpets, inadequate lighting, poor warning signs at ramps and faulty lighting.
On the plus side, the inspectors found that the managers at the Rest Home were very co-operative and promised to rectify all of the problems identified.
Why pressure sore prevention is so important for dementia patients
Pressure sores are really ulcers that develop in the surface of the skin and can spread into deeper underlying tissue. They develop when constant abrasion takes place between the skin surface and material underneath. It is exacerbated by lack of movement as the same area of the skin is constantly exposed to friction for long periods.
Dementia patients are known to be more exposed to pressure sores for a number of reasons including:
- they tend to lie down without moving for longer than those who do not have dementia;
- They suffer more from incontinence. Wet urine which is not removed and cleaned promptly can increase friction and lead to a higher risk of pressures sores;
- they have a weaker resistance to disease;
- they are less likely to communicate with care workers about their sores;
- they have weaker and thinner skin;
- they have poorer blood supply.
Pressure sores can be avoided or prevented but the normal measures that are used for anyone who is bed ridden must be stepped up for dementia patients. They need constant monitoring, an effort to improve their general health through providing a balanced diet and exercise wherever possible. Proper monitoring of their skin should take place to avert the possibility of pressure sores developing as is regular movement of a dementia patient’s body to prevent the same area of skin being exposed.
It is essential that if you have a loved one with dementia who you suspect is not being looked after, you should communicate your worries to a pressure sore solicitor like Curtis Legal. Legal action against the hospital or rest home that has been entrusted with the care of a dementia patient can help to alleviate the pain and suffering from pressure sores and provide compensation which can be used to make your loved one’s life more bearable in the future.