Bed sores are a medical condition that is common in nursing homes. In this article, we’ll explain what bedsores are, go over their stages and symptoms, and describe how they relate to nursing home abuse.
- Bedsores, also called pressure injuries, are skin injuries that can happen when a person spends a long time in the same position
- Bedsores have four stages of severity, with the fourth being potentially life-threatening
- Elderly, malnutritioned, and immobile people are at a higher risk for bed sores
- Bedsores are a risk in nursing homes because residents are older and sometimes unable to reposition themselves
- Nursing home staff should be trained on how to prevent bed sores, making bed sores a potential sign of nursing home abuse
What Is a Bedsore?
A bedsore, also called a pressure injury, is a skin injury that happens when force is applied to the surface of the skin. It can occur either from constant pressure or from a dragging force between the skin and another surface.
Bedsores often occur when a person spends a long time in the same position, meaning that those with mobility problems have the highest risk. Over 2.5 million people in the United States develop bedsores every year.
Bedsores usually happen on bony parts of the body such as the hips, heels, tailbone, elbows, head, and ankles. Unfortunately, bedsores can become life-threatening if they become infected or advance to a deep wound.
Stages of a Bedsore
Bedsores have four stages of severity.
- Stage 1: This stage is characterized by discolored skin, appearing red on light skin tones and blue or purple on dark skin tones. When pressed with a finger, the skin does not turn white.
- Stage 2: This stage is characterized by superficial damage to the skin in which the top layer of skin is lost. It may look like a blister and the top layer of skin can repair itself.
- Stage 3: This stage is a deeper, open wound extending to the fatty layer of the skin but without visible muscle or bone.
- Stage 4: In this most severe stage, the wound extends down to the bone. This stage is prone to infection, which can be life-threatening.
People at Risk of Bedsores
The following populations are most likely to develop bedsores:
- People with prosthetic limbs that do not fit properly
- People with a loss of sensation that can not feel pressure being applied to the skin
- The elderly, whose skin is thinner and more easily damaged
- Malnutritioned people whose wounds heal more slowly
- People with limited or no mobility are at particular risk and need to be moved or turned regularly
Symptoms of Bedsores
The following are symptoms of bedsores:
- Skin that feels cooler or warmer to the touch than other areas
- Changes in skin color
- Skin loss
- Pus-like drainage from an open area of skin
- Skin swelling, pain, or tenderness
Bedsores and Nursing Home Abuse
As we mentioned above, one of the populations that are most at risk for bedsores is the elderly, especially if they are bedridden or otherwise have mobility issues. This means that bedsores are common in nursing homes and sometimes even in assisted living facilities. Nursing home staff members should be trained to prevent bedsores. As such, bedsores can be a sign that a nursing home resident might be a victim of nursing home abuse.
If you believe that you or a loved one have had bed sores as a result of nursing home abuse, it is highly recommended that you speak to the proper authorities. It is also recommended to be in touch with an experienced attorney who can help you file a legal claim and recover compensation for your injuries and suffering.