Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a result of pressure being placed on an area of the skin for a prolonged period of time. When the skin is constantly under pressure, blood and nutrients can’t reach the area. That results in cell death, which can lead to a bedsore.
In a nursing home environment, bedsores are most common among patients who are paralyzed, bedridden or unable to move themselves well. Those who are unconscious, unable to feel pain or immobile are most likely to go without realizing that they’re developing an ulcer, or they may be unable to move to relieve the pressure they feel on that area of their body.
Bedsores are a serious problem among the elderly
Bedsores are a problem among the elderly, particularly those who are bedridden or immobile. Nurses and the nursing home staff members have to make sure the person is positioned correctly, turned or moved regularly. They must also provide skin care and good nutrition to help the elder avoid a pressure ulcer. Failing to help them get good nutrition, control diabetes or work through circulation problems can lead to a higher risk of pressure ulcers.
Where are bedsores most common?
Bedsores are most common on the:
- Heels of the feet
- Back of the head
- Sides and back of the knees
- Shoulder blades
Once a bedsore begins to develop, it will go through four stages. The first stage is the least serious. The area will look red and be warm. If you catch a bedsore at this stage, you can move the elder to relieve the pressure. Patients may complain of itching, burning or pain in the area where the stage 1 ulcer is developing. However, with movement, it can recover.
Stage 2, 3 and 4 ulcers are more serious. Starting at stage 2, they may be open or form a blister. The pain is also more serious. In stage 3, there is damage below the surface of the skin, and stage 4 results in a large wound that can become infected.
After a bedsore is found, a patient should receive medical treatment. Any bedsores above a stage 1 sore may require medications, special gauze or wraps or even surgery to help prevent or treat infections.
If your loved one develops a pressure sore, the likelihood is that their care was inadequate. Your attorney can talk to you more about the options you have.