Nursing home patients are susceptible to bruises or bleeding from elderly wound-related issues. When the skin is compromised, it can affect vitamin production, sensation, temperature regulation and immune function.
Wound care is a challenge for the elderly due to compromised immune systems, slower healing reactions, limited regenerative ability, and medications that inhibit skin health or that result in an increased bleeding risk, fragile, or thinner skin. Even minor infections that would quickly heal in younger people could be a challenge for older adults.
In some cases, elderly skin can degenerate with no apparent cause.
Types of Wounds in Elderly People
There are several kinds of injuries that frequently occur in elderly patients:
- Wounds related to a lack of circulation
- Post-surgical wounds
- Wounds related to amputation
- Bruises or wounds from rough handling in and out of bed or a wheelchair
- Wounds from slips and falls in their room, bathrooms or when reaching for an object on the floor
- Arterial and venous ulcers
- Diabetic ulcers
- Pressure wounds in the elderly (bedsores)
- Genital or sexual wounds
Wounds can suddenly appear or evolve over time. A wound is referred to as being chronic if it is recurrent or it doesn’t heal or heals slowly.
How the Elderly Recover from Wounds
Healing in all people passes through four stages.
In the elderly, passing through these stages of wound healing can prove to be problematic for many age-related reasons plus some that are not age related such as malnutrition and dehydration. Caring for wounds starts with the doctor who applies medications to prevent bacteria from entering the wound such as an antiseptic. Wounds are often covered to keep bacteria and other sources of infection from entering the wound.
Wound Care Neglect
Wound care is a possible cause of nursing home neglect. For example, bedsores can form in areas where the elderly is sitting or laying down without being moved. Wounds need to be continuously monitored, cleaned and treated. If they are not, you can see symptoms that indicate may be signs of neglect.
Signs of Wound Infection
- Odor emanating from the wound
- A wound that is warm to the touch
- Swelling around the wound
- Pus or other secretion
- Patient Confusion
Failure to immediately address a wound can result in the death of a patient or amputation.
Wound Infection Lawsuits
If an infection or wound is left untreated or even unnoticed, there may be grounds for legal action. It is not the job of the patient to be vocal about their medical condition. Many may not have noticed or even capable of reporting what is going on with their body.
Skin and wound care is a critical part of nursing home care and is a right of every patient.
Nursing homes are responsible for delivering a standard of care established by the State of New Jersey and the Federal Government. If you believe or even suspect that this standard isn’t being met, we suggest having a brief discussion with one of our attorneys. We are experts of New Jersey Nursing homes and can discuss how others addressed similar issues.
Just give us a call at (201) 488-4644 or ask us to call you by filling out the form on the right side of this page. There is no obligation, and we will work with you to quickly address any signs of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Guo, S., and L. DiPietro. The United States. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Factors Affecting Wound Healing. Bethesda: National Library of Medicine, 2010. Web.
“Wound Care.” St. Elias Specialty Hospital: a Providence Partner. BridgeCare Hospitals, n.d. Web. 20 May 2013.