Pressure Sores: Causes, Stages, Prevention, Treatment
Pressure sores or decubitus ulcers are other terms for a malady also known as “bed sores,” which often afflict nursing home residents. Pressure sores can occur on various areas of the body, typically bony areas such as heels or tailbone area. Nursing home residents are at higher risk for pressure sores when they are:
- Unable to reposition themselves
Why Do So Many Nursing Home Residents Develop Pressure Sores?
Reasons for vulnerability of this population include many residents’ thin skin because of age; risk because of friction, humidity and constant pressure on certain parts of the body; and caregivers’ failure to prevent, diagnose and timely treat pressure sores in the earliest stages.
A stage 1 pressure sore may simply show up as an area of reddened skin. Early diagnosis and treatment along with aggressive ongoing prevention methods can bring about quick healing. Failure to diagnose or treat pressure sores will inevitably lead to worsening in most cases. At stage 2, there is an open wound. At stage 3, deep tissue damage has taken place. At stage 4, tissue necrosis (tissue death) has begun, and there may be damage to bones and muscles. The most serious cases can result in infections such as sepsis, or death.
Experts say that pressure sores are very often evidence of neglect by caregivers who should:
- Keep residents clean and dry
- Help ensure good nutrition and hygiene
- Rotate bedridden residents periodically
- Observe immobilized residents’ skin frequently
Our Chicago, Illinois, Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Lawyers Can Offer Information, Advice And Advocacy
If your loved one is suffering from an early stage of pressure sores, you should expect care managers to implement aggressive mitigation. Treatments may include antibiotics and frequently changed special bandages that help the skin heal. Corrective measures may include more frequent monitoring and changes in positioning. For many affected people, early intervention will result in healing. Failure to act at the earliest stages will inevitably lead to a worsening condition.
If your loved one has developed an infection (perhaps requiring hospitalization) or if you have lost him or her because of a fatal condition originating with a decubitus ulcer, contact an attorney.