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The holiday season is the time of year when families come together and visit loved ones. The holidays are the peak visiting season for families visiting residents of nursing homes and long term care facilities. It is important that family members be mindful of the signs of neglect and abuse.

Families should also be aware of the risk of bedsores also known as pressure sores or ulcers. Bedsores result from sustained pressure on your body and are avoidable with proper precautions. They’re especially common in areas that lie just over a bone, such as your spine, tailbone (coccyx), shoulder blades, hips, heels and elbows. Knowing this, the nursing facility is obligated to develope and impliment a pressure sore prevention plan for each resident who is deemed at risk. Those at risk include the immobile, people with decreased mental awareness, diabetes, malnutrition, and vascular disease. A proper prevention plan includes position changes, daily skin inspections, pressure reducing devices, and proper nutrition.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home or other care facility, check that person’s skin condition, weight, and general care every time you visit. If you notice any sign of pressure sores, or neglect, alert the nursing staff and attending physician or nursing home director immediately. Even just a small area of redness can quickly develope into a difficult to treat open wound. You and other family members are in the best position to monitor and assess a loved one’s condition.

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