There are many potential signs of elder neglect and abuse, but one of the more common ones is the presence of bedsores. Understanding what causes bedsores and the type of treatment required to prevent them from appearing is important so that you can advocate for your loved one’s well-being.

There are many causes of bedsores. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of bedsores include shear, friction and pressure.

What are shear, friction and pressure?

Shear refers to the pressure put on the skin due to movement within the bed. For example, if the bed is at an incline and the patient is constantly sliding down the mattress, this will put shear pressure on the skin, and could cause tearing.

Friction is exactly what it sounds like: the skin rubbing against clothing, bedding or both. Particularly if the skin is moist, friction can cause serious bedsores.

Finally, pressure is a huge cause behind most bedsores. If your loved one is constantly laying down, that means that certain areas of the skin are constantly enduring the pressure of body weight. This can negatively affect blood flow to these areas. If this happens, then the affected skin will not be receiving appropriate oxygen or other nutrients. This causes skin death and bedsores.   

How should nursing home staff prevent bedsores?

If your loved one has bedsores, that means the nursing home staff is not moving him or her around enough. If somebody is bedridden, the staff nursing home should be moving that person around regularly to prevent the sores. Again, frequent bedsores may be a sign of systemic elder abuse.