Wes Bledsoe, founder of the victim’s advocacy group A Perfect Cause, cautioned Norman, Oklahoma, residents to heed the warning signs of neglect in patients in the state’s nursing homes, citing a study by the national coalition Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes. The study found that nursing home residents in Oklahoma had more pressure sores compared to the national average, according to NewsOK. Bledsoe said pressure sores on nursing home residents are akin to “canaries in the coal mine,” adding that pressure sores often are a sign of neglect, and the frequency of pressure sores on a nursing home’s patients often indicates how well staff at the nursing homes are taking care of their residents.
Pressure sores, also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, are areas of damaged skin and tissue that develop when sustained pressure – usually from a bed or wheelchair – cuts off circulation to parts of the body. The sores are most often found on the skin on the buttocks, hips and heels. Lack of adequate blood flow can cause tissue in the area to die. If left untreated, pressure sores can lead to serious or life threatening infections of the skin, muscle or bone.
Bledsoe urged a group of concerned citizens at a town hall meeting last week that vigilance and frequent visits can help prevent neglect.
Bledsoe’s advocacy group has continued to look out for the rights of nursing home residents. The group has lobbied for a stand-alone, long-term care facility in Oklahoma for sex offenders so they would not have to be admitted into other facilities. The group also has fought to have all allegations of abuse be reported to police for investigation, rather than just to state agencies that don’t always follow through with a formal investigation. The group also has helped garner attention for cases of abuse and neglect in nursing homes, most recently the “abuse-for-thrills” case at Good Samaritan Society nursing home in Albert Lea, Minnesota.