General Information on Bed Sores in Nursing Home Patients

The Rate and Prevalence of Bedsores in America

Bedsores are a common serious issue for the elderly and individuals who are mobility challenged. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), bedsores affect the health of nearly 1 million adults every year in the United States. Most common bedsores advance to Stage II where the top skin layers die off, creating a shallow crater at risk of infection. Because the average age of the population continues to rise, bedsores will be a significant major health problem in the years ahead.

Bedsores (decubitus ulcers; pressure ulcers; pressure sores) are often secondary complications to other conditions, which could include spinal cord injury, quadriplegia or old age. The wound is caused by ischemia when body pressure restricts blood flow to the skin and underlying tissues. When pressure is applied externally for an extended time, the skin becomes reddened and susceptible to necrosis (tissue death). The most common areas for a bedsore include the back of the head, shoulders, shoulder blades, hips, sacrum, ankles, heels and toes.

The Prevalence of Bedsores in Nursing Home and Hospital Patients

General Information

The prevalence of developing a bedsore in a nursing home or hospital varies by certain factors including the patient’s age and gender along with the length of hospital or nursing home stay. Younger patients (under 65 years) are more likely to develop a bedsore than an older patient, and males more than females have a higher incident rate of pressure ulcers. Patient staying in a medical facility less than a year tend to have an increased potential of developing a pressure sore when compared to patients staying longer.

Nursing home patients that have had a recent loss of significant weight tend to experience a developing bedsore when compared to patients who have not recently lost weight. In addition, mobility-challenged individuals staying in nursing facilities have a one in 10 higher risk of developing a pressure sore than ambulatory patients. Individuals required to take nine prescription medications or more every day (poly-pharmaceuticals) have a higher prevalence of developing bedsores compared to those taking fewer drugs. In addition, continent patients who are better able to control their bowels have a significant lower rate of bedsores compared to patients suffering bladder or bowel incontinence.

Special Wound Care Essential to Keep Patients Safe & Wounds from Progressing

Bedsores that have been allowed to advance to Stage II, III and IV usually require experience medical professionals who are specially trained in handling life-threatening pressure ulcers. At Stage II, the pressure sore typically displays a shallow crater, blister or abrasion when the lack of blood flow damages or kills the top layer of skin. By Stage III, the skin’s full thickness is completely gone, and a deep crater exposes subcutaneous tissue down to the fascia layers. Stage IV bedsores expose bone and muscle, as all subcutaneous tissue and skin are lost. In the final stages, the patient is highly susceptible to life-threatening infection of tissue, bone and blood.

The High Cost of Pressure Sores in Dollars and Cents

Treating advanced stage pressure sores is not only complex, but also expensive. In studiesaccumulated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the average cost in treating a facilityacquiredStage IV bedsore and all associated complications averages well over $125,000 for a single admission. Sadly, in addition to the huge healthcare expenditure of treating a facility-acquired bedsore, most patients suffer enormous pain from a condition that could have been prevented. In addition, the life of the patient is often threatened, especially when the wound becomes infected.

Stopping the Neglect: Taking Legal Action to Protect Your Loved One from Further Harm

A facility-acquired bedsore is the first sign of neglect. Because making a claim of nursing home abuse can be complex, families are often encouraged to file a suit to take immediate legal action. After reviewing your case, a skilled attorney who specializes in bedsore cases can provide various legal options to help your loved one and hold negligent medical staff accountable for their misconduct.

Nursing Home Law Center LLC can explain your rights to ensure that the injured victim receives the best medical care now. Call our legal firm at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free initial consultation without obligation. Our team of attorneys has successfully litigated nursing home abuse cases to secure financial recovery. We provide legal advocacy and fight aggressively to ensure that our client is treated with the respect they deserve.

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources

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