Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a condition that results from prolonged pressure on vulnerable parts of the human skin. Pressure sores are unfortunately common among nursing home residents and individuals who use supportive devices such as a wheelchair or brace of some sort. If someone you love is in a nursing home and is suffering from bedsores or other common abuse symptoms, contact the me today so that we can investigate and get you the settlement you deserve.
A sore forms when skin is deprived of needed nutrients and blood flow for a prolonged period of time. The sores appear on areas of the skin that are under constant pressure. Sores develop most easily on areas of skin that are close to the bone, such as heels, tailbones and shoulder blades. These areas are prone to the sores because there is little to no padding between the bones and the skin. A bedsore can be detected early by inspecting patients frequently and paying close attention to high risk regions of the body. If a person is lying in a bed in the same position for a lengthy period of time, without much movement, they are likely to develop a bedsore.
You can inspect a patient for potential sores by looking at their skin. There are four stages of severity. Early on, pressure sores may cause slight discoloration of the skin, a noticeable temperature difference from the rest of the skin, and some firmness. These symptoms might indicate a stage 1 sore. If skin is broken in any way, the sore may be stage 2. Absence of significant layers of skin is characteristic of stage 3 sores, while total loss of skin from the surface to the bones or muscles is associated with stage 4 sores. At any of these stages, sores need to be immediately treated to prevent more serious consequences.
To treat bedsores, caretakers will need to consider many factors such as: the patient’s nutrition, their ability to be mobile, the level of care they have access to, and the level of discomfort the patient is experiencing. All of these factors can play a role in the severity of the sore. From this point, caretakers should develop a customized treatment plan and they should communicate it to the patient if possible. If a patient is unable to be aware of their own needs, it is even more critical for the treatment plan to be communicated to all the people involved in the care-taking process.
While bedsores are very preventable, they are extremely difficult to get rid of. Depending on the severity of the sore, different treatment tactics may be appropriate. For an individual with a sore from a wheelchair or similar device, the patient needs to shift positions approximately every 15 minutes. However, someone in a bed only needs to adjust positions every two hours or so. There are different methods for assisting people with the necessary movement such as guided instruction, use of leverage devices, or one-on-one assistance.
Preventing sores may be relatively simple, but once they form, treatment can be quite complicated. The necessary degree of treatment is likely best determined by a physician or even a skin care specialist. Treatment can range from topical bandaging to invasive surgery. If the proper course of action is not taken, patients are then predisposed to serious illness and death. Patients face death if the sore is so serious that it causes sepsis, an infection in the bloodstream.
Ultimately, bedsores are a serious risk that needs to be addressed immediately. Without proper care, bedsores can cause a patient to quickly deteriorate from fair to poor health. Pressure sores develop rapidly but treatment takes a long time. The best thing you can do to help someone who is at risk for developing a sore is to be diligent about the quality of their care. Visit as often as possible, talk with them or treatment professionals about moving them often, and follow through by inspecting them for sores if you have legitimate reasons to doubt the care they are receiving.
If at any time you or a loved one suffers from a bedsore you may have a legal remedy for the situation. Please me at (312) 888-8000 to learn more about your legal rights.