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Early Stage Bed Sores
Bedsores are also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers. Bedsores develop when there is too much pressure on the skin for a prolonged period of time. The prolonged pressure on the skin reduces blood flow and essential nutrients to the area and may cause the tissue to die and a sore to form.
Bedsores can be extremely painful as the open sore on the skin’s surface causes nerve pain and a burning sensation. A pressure sore can be life-threatening if it is allowed to progress causing severe complications such as infection, cellulitis, and sepsis. Residents in a nursing home that do not receive the attention and care they need may be at increased risk for developing bedsores.
Do you suspect that a loved one has developed pressure sores due to neglect in a nursing home? If so, contact the Nursing Home Law Center, LLC today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers have many years of experience representing clients who have been injured due to someone else's carelessness. We understand the laws that apply to these cases, and we know how to get our clients the maximum compensation possible.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we recover money.Pressure Sore Risks and Statistics
The risk of pressure sores is increased in elderly residents in nursing homes who may not be able to move independently. Over 2.5 million people in the United States will develop bedsores each year.
Many factors can increase a patient’s risk of bedsores forming.
- Immobility caused by poor health or injury
- A spinal cord injury that leaves a patient paralyzed
- Medical conditions that impact blood circulation, such as diabetes or vascular disease
- Incontinence irritating tissue through contact with urine or stools
- Decreased sensory perception causing an inability to feel pain or discomfort
- Poor nutrition and hydration can lead to increased susceptibility
- Obesity can lead to increased pressure on soft tissue
The severity of symptoms categorizes bedsores and pressure stages, from stage 1 being the mildest to stage 5, which is the most severe.
Stage 1 Bedsores
Stage 1 bedsores are characterized by a change in skin color, usually appearing as dark skin with pink or red discoloration or possibly an ashen color in darker skin tones. The warning signs of stage 1 bedsores in elderly patients with darker skin may be harder to identify in the early stages, so careful attention needs to be paid to avoid the sore developing further.
If a loved one has an area of discoloration, move them into a position where the area is not under any pressure. If the area of discoloration remains after 30 minutes, then it may be the development of a stage 1 bedsore.
Healthy tissue with normal blood circulation will turn white when pressure is applied and then return to a normal color when the pressure is released. An area that remains red and discolored when the pressure is released might be a stage 1 pressure ulcer.
When an elderly patient has remained in the same position for too long, the blood flow provided to the skin through the blood vessels can be impaired, which causes damage to the skin tissue and results in the development of a stage 1 pressure sore.
Common Locations of Stage 1 Pressure Sores
Elderly people in nursing homes are at higher risk for developing bedsores. Nursing home staff must be trained in recognizing and treating pressure-related tissue damage to the skin.
If the patient has impaired mobility and spends a lot of time in bed, they may be at risk for developing bedsores in the following locations:
- Shoulder blades or shoulders
- Lower back or tailbone
- Sides and backs of the knee
- Ankles, heels, and toes
- Back or sides of the head
If a stage 1 pressure sore is not treated promptly, serious complications can arise, such as infections, cellulitis, and sepsis which may be life-threatening.
An infection caused by developing bedsores can penetrate the joints and bones of the surrounding location. Joint infections can damage cartilage and connective tissue and are more likely to occur if the bedsore is allowed to develop into the deeper layers of the skin.
Cellulitis is a deep infection of the skin that is usually caused by bacteria entering an open wound. Patients who suffer from open wounds associated with bedsores may be susceptible to contracting cellulitis in the surrounding skin.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition where the immune system attacks its own tissues and organs in response to an infection. An untreated infection from a bedsore may lead to sepsis and result in septic shock, organ failure, or even death.Preventing a Stage 1 Pressure Ulcer
Preventing bedsores should be a priority for nursing home staff. Recognizing and treating pressure ulcers is vital to preventing dead tissue, skin damage, and open sores from developing.
It is estimated that 95% of all pressure ulcers are preventable. Nursing home staff should be trained in preventing pressure ulcers and treating pressure sores if they develop.
Common strategies for preventing bedsores include;
- Frequent visual skin assessments
- Make sure the patient is moved at least every 2 hours
- Using dynamic mattresses that have a pump to provide a constant flow of air
- Use of pressure sensing mats placed under the bed or wheelchair
- Ensuring proper nutrition and fluid intake are maintained
- Avoid friction when moving a patient that could damage fragile skin
- Use of foam pads and pillows to relieve pressure
- Keeping the skin clean
- Gently wash the patient with a mild soap
Identifying and treating pressure sores in nursing home patients is crucial to avoid ongoing complications and unnecessary pain and suffering. Most sores heal when accurate medical advice and treatment are provided. A clinical practice guideline for treating bedsores is available from the American College of Physicians.
Common treatment strategies for stage 1 bedsores:
- If the skin is not broken, gently wash the area with mild soap
- Relieve pressure from bedsores with careful placement of pillows and foam pads
- Ensure the patient is moved at least every 2 hours to avoid prolonged pressure
- Frequent visual assessments by nursing staff to monitor tissue damage
What Happens if the Bedsore Progresses to an Open Wound?
Medical advice should be immediately sought if the bedsore advances and has a crater-like appearance. Patients who develop bedsores that progress to an open sore are at increased risk for infection and complications.
It is vital to treat infections promptly. Treatment might include antibiotics, removing the damaged, infected tissue, and in severe cases, medical professionals may transplant healthy skin to the wound area.How Do I Claim Compensation for Pressure Ulcers?
If you or a loved one have suffered from pressure ulcers that you believe were caused by the negligence or abuse of a nursing home or hospital staff member, you must contact a nursing home abuse attorney right away to ensure that you receive the compensation you and your loved one deserve.
Compensation can cover:
- Medical bills
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of Consortium
How Much is a Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuit Worth?
Bedsore lawsuits provide compensation to the injured patient and punish the negligent, at-fault party so that similar harmful acts can be prevented in the future. They average as much as several hundreds of thousands of dollars. A nursing home bedsore lawsuit might be worth more than a million dollars.What Steps Do I Take to Start the Compensation Process? Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney!
You must contact the Nursing Home Law Center, LLC today at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys have many years of experience representing clients who have been injured due to someone else's carelessness. We understand the laws that apply to these cases, and we know how to get our clients the maximum compensation possible.
Our nursing home facility abuse lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. We aren’t paid until we win your case.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.