The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 10 patients are suffering from bedsores at any given time. They estimate that of those, approximately 13 percent are men and 11 percent are women who currently reside in nursing homes. While treatable in the early stages, nursing home neglect can allow the problem to reach life-threatening and even fatal, stages.
Bedsores are caused by continuous pressure on any certain spot. They are categorized in stages from one to four. In stage one, the skin is not broken but the skin will appear red or darker. It may also be tender or painful to the touch, and can feel warmer than the skin around it. In stage two, the skin begins to show damage. The sore will be red or yellow in color, and can look like a blister. If caught in either of these stages, bedsores are the easiest to treat and cure.
Stage three bedsores become a deep wound that resembles a crater. It is usually yellow-colored with some fat and dead tissue exposed. Sores that reach this level are a good indicator that a patient is not receiving proper care and attention by nursing home staff. While this level is still treatable, it is still a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Stage four bedsores involve large areas of tissue loss with damage that penetrates deep into the layers of skin. They can become so deep that muscle or bone become exposed. Wide spread infection can occur from these wounds, often leading to death. A patient who suffers stage four bedsores have inevitably not been moved or rotated as required, and almost certainly indicates negligence and lack of proper care.
Sadly, bedsore deaths are common in nursing homes, or even after patients have been sent home from a nursing home stay. Just recently, an otherwise healthy, upstate New York man died of sepsis caused by 7 bedsores he obtained during a nursing home stay for physical rehabilitation after a surgery. Doctors and nurses at the hospital said it was one of the worst cases of bedsores they had ever seen.