legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Bed Sore Stage 2
When Stage 1 pressure sores do not receive immediate or proper treatment, they may develop into Stage 2 sores. The wound may become a breeding ground for bacteria at this stage, increasing the risk of infections and other severe complications.
Nursing homes must treat bedsores immediately as soon as they appear. Unfortunately, some facilities fail to employ proper bedsore monitoring, allowing early-stage bedsores to progress. When this happens, affected residents may suffer significant pain and life-threatening health consequences.
Did you or a loved one develop bedsores due to a nursing home's negligence? If so, you have the right to seek financial compensation. The skilled elder abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, are here to provide the legal help you need.
Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone number) for a free legal case review.
What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores are injuries to the skin and soft tissues caused by prolonged pressure. These injuries often occur when someone sits or lays in one position for too long. If pressure accumulates on a body part, blood flow is cut off, and the skin starts to die.
A pressure sore can form when the blood supply is cut off for more than two to three hours. Once it develops, recovery can take days, months, or even years.
Who is At a Higher Risk of Stage 2 Bedsores?
People with limited mobility or otherwise immobile are at a higher risk of bedsores because they cannot independently reposition. Frequent repositioning is necessary to prevent pressure from accumulating in the body parts in constant contact with the bed or wheelchair.
At-risk individuals include those confined to beds or wheelchairs, such as the extremely ill, paraplegic individuals, and patients recovering from major surgery.
Other factors that can lead to pressure injuries include:
- Incontinence. The skin is more vulnerable to injury when it is moist. People with continence issues are more prone to bedsores if their skin is exposed to urine and stool for too long.
- Lack of Sensory Perception: Some conditions, such as neurological disorders and spinal cord injuries, reduce or take away a person's ability to feel pain and discomfort. When people lack these sensations, they may not know they need to change positions.
- Malnutrition and Dehydration: Good nutrition and adequate hydration are crucial to skin health. Thus, malnourished or dehydrated nursing home residents are susceptible to bedsores, among other complications.
- Health Conditions Affecting Blood Flow: Health conditions that disrupt or restrict blood circulation, such as vascular disease and diabetes, can increase a person's risk of pressure sores.
Common Sites of Pressure Sores
These injuries often form on the skin covering bony areas of the body, including the hips, shoulders, heels, ankles, and tailbone. However, the position in which patients spend most of their day may affect where they develop bedsores.
Nursing home residents who spend most of their day sitting in wheelchairs may develop bedsores on the:
- Shoulder blades
- Tailbone or buttocks
- Backs of arms and legs where they rest against the wheelchair
On the other hand, residents who are confined to their beds are more prone to developing sores on the:
- Back or sides of the head
- Lower back or tailbone
- Heels, ankles, skin behind the knees
What Are The Stages of Pressure Ulcers?
Doctors diagnose bedsores according to their "stage," which indicates the severity of the injury. Pressure sores are divided into four stages, ranging from least to most severe:
At Stage 1 of a bed sore, the first layer of skin appears red and feels warm to the touch. The affected area may have a purple or blue tint with darker complexions.
The spot does not get lighter when you press on it, indicating reduced circulation in the area. The site may also feel different from the surrounding skin, e.g., warmer or cooler, softer or firmer.
Symptoms may include mild pain, itching, or burning in the affected area. Treating Stage 1 sores may only require stopping the pressure and washing the area with soap and water. The Stage 1 sore may heal in as little as two to three days.
Once Stage 1 bedsores progress into the deeper layers of the skin, they become Stage 2 sores. A Stage 2 bedsore leaves an open wound on the skin or looks like a blister filled with pus.
The shallow open sore is warm, swollen, red, and may leak clear fluid. These symptoms may indicate that the body is fighting to keep infection and bacteria away. A patient with a Stage 2 bedsore will likely complain of significant pain in the area.
In Stage 2, treating pressure sores requires frequent and proper cleaning of the wounds to prevent infections. Covering the area with gauze is also necessary to prevent bacteria and debris from entering the open layer of skin.
These injuries usually take three days to three weeks to heal, depending on the patient's overall health.
Stage 2 bedsores can cause infections as they are open wounds without proper treatment. It's crucial to seek professional medical advice as soon as bedsores reach this stage.
Stage 2 bedsores progress into Stage 3 when they penetrate the second layer of skin into the adipose tissue (fat). The wound has a crater-like appearance and may have a foul odor. Signs of infection may be present, such as redness, pus, heat, and fluid drainage. If there is dead tissue, the area in or around the sore is black.
Stage 2 bedsores may not require going to the doctor, but Stage 3 sores do. The doctor may remove dead tissues and prescribe antibiotics to fight infections. Treating pressure sores at Stage 3 may also require using a special bed.
A Stage 3 sore may take one to four months to heal.
Stage 4 bedsores are the most severe and affect the deeper tissues of the skin, including the muscles and ligaments. The tendons, muscles, and bones may be visible. The skin has turned black due to tissue death.
These sores require immediate medical attention. The patient may need surgery to repair the damaged skin or remove damaged tissues. Stage 4 bedsores may take months or years to heal, depending on the severity of the injuries and the patient's overall health. Some never heal at all.
Recognizing and treating pressure ulcers at this stage is crucial due to the high risk of death.
Common Causes of Stage 2 Bedsores in Nursing Homes
Stage 1 bedsores do not break the skin, but failing to relieve the pressure can cause the skin to tear and form Stage 2 bedsores.
Common causes of Stage 2 bedsores among nursing home residents include:
- Infrequent Repositioning: Bedridden patients must change positions every two hours or less, while patients in wheelchairs need repositioning every 15 minutes.
Many patients confined to beds or wheelchairs cannot do this independently and require assistance from nursing staff. When staff fails to change residents' positions regularly, stage 1 bedsores can start to form, or existing sores can progress to Stage 2.
- Poor Hygiene Assistance: Patients who cannot clean themselves require adequate hygiene assistance from nursing staff (e.g., changing diapers, wiping after going to the toilet, bathing). Otherwise, prolonged skin exposure to sweat, urine, and stool can increase the risk of bedsores.
- Inadequate Bedsore Monitoring: Nursing home employees must inspect physically limited patients for pressure injuries on a regular schedule. Doing so can help them spot Stage 1 sores before progressing to Stage 2, thus preventing the injuries from worsening and developing infections.
- Delayed Treatment: Stage 1 and 2 sores require immediate treatment to prevent them from progressing. If the nursing staff fails to spot Stage 1 sores in time, they can develop into stage 2 and become a higher risk of infections.
Stage 2 sores can grow rapidly without proper treatment and continued pressure on the affected skin.
- Poor Nutrition and Hydration: A lack of nutrients (especially iron and Vitamin D) and water increases the risk of bedsores. Furthermore, malnourished or dehydrated patients with Stage 2 bedsores may be less able to fight off infections due to poor health.
Failing to provide residents with adequate nutrition and hydration is considered nursing home abuse.
- Improper Wound Treatment: A lack of proper wound care can cause stage 2 bedsores to contract infections. Poor wound care practices include using dirty hands to handle the wound, not changing gauze on time, failing to disinfect correctly, and not cleaning the surrounding skin.
These problems often have root causes, such as:
- Inadequate Training and Experience: Nursing homes must hire employees with good backgrounds and provide training on bedsore prevention. Failure to do so can increase the risk of nursing home abuse or medical negligence, leading to bedsores.
- Lack of Background Checks: Every nursing home must conduct background checks on all applicants to ensure they have no history of nursing home neglect, elder abuse, or something similar. Nursing homes that fail to do their due diligence may hire employees prone to mistreating nursing home residents.
- Poor Bedsore Prevention Policies and Processes: Nursing facilities need comprehensive strategies to prevent bedsores, especially for at-risk nursing home residents. Without such measures, employees have no proper guidance on recognizing and treating bedsores.
- Understaffing: Many issues related to elder abuse are caused by chronic short-staffing, wherein there are not enough nursing home employees to care for all patients. Understaffing may lead to some residents staying in one position for long periods, sitting in dirty diapers, or suffering from undetected Stage 2 sores.
Complications of Stage 2 Bedsores and Dead Tissue
Like any open wound, Stage 2 bedsores require immediate medical attention to reduce the risk of infections. Once an open sore forms, it becomes susceptible to infectious bacteria that can multiply rapidly on the skin.
When this happens, the following complications can occur:
- Cellulitis: An untreated open wound can lead to cellulitis, an infection of the skin and soft tissues. It can cause warmth, swelling, and inflammation in the affected skin. Untreated cellulitis can lead to further complications, such as bacteremia (bacteria in the blood), suppurative arthritis, osteomyelitis, and endocarditis.
- Osteomyelitis: An infected bedsore can lead to osteomyelitis, a disease characterized by inflammation or swelling in the bone. It can damage the patient's bones, tissues, and cartilage and reduce limb function.
- Septic Arthritis: Infectious bacteria from a bedsore can spread to the joints, causing septic arthritis. This condition is excruciating and may develop rapidly.
- Gangrene: This rare but life-threatening condition is caused by gas emitted by Clostridium bacteria. When left untreated, gangrenous limbs may require amputation to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other body parts. Gangrenous skin does not heal.
- Necrotizing Fasciitis: A pressure ulcer infected by Group A Streptococci bacteria (flesh-eating bacteria) can cause rapid tissue death and often requires surgery to remove damaged skin.
- Sepsis: This condition is the body's overreaction to infectious agents and is common in patients with bedsores. Sepsis can spread rapidly throughout the body, causing organ failure and subsequent death.
- Cancer: Skin ulcers that do not heal can develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
These complications can occur at Stage 2 and beyond. As long as an open sore does not heal on time, there is a risk of bacterial infections. For this reason, treating Stage 2 sores before they become infected is crucial.
Recognizing and Treating Pressure Sores
Doctors diagnose bedsores through physical examinations. They may also use the following treatment options to help the patient heal:
- De-pressurizing the affected body parts through frequent repositioning or using cushions or special beds
- Cleaning sores with soap and water
- Applying disinfectant and gauze to Stage 2 sores and beyond
- Using antibiotics to treat infections
- Removing damaged skin through surgery
- Amputating gangrenous limbs (in extreme cases)
Once you notice signs of Stage 2 bed sores, seek professional medical advice on preventing the wounds from progressing.
Taking Legal Action For Stage 2 Bedsores
Nursing homes are ultimately responsible for all residents' health and well-being. Hence, the development of Stage 2 bedsores clearly shows their failure to meet that obligation.
Any form of negligence, including the inability to treat Stage 2 bedsores as soon as they appear, may be considered nursing home abuse.
If you or a loved one developed Stage 2 bedsores or beyond in a nursing home, you can hold negligent parties accountable through legal action. In doing so, you must prove the following are true:
- The nursing home owed a duty of care to you
- The nursing home breached this duty of care
- You or your loved one suffered an injury due to this breach
- The nursing home's negligence directly led to your injuries and other losses.
Who May Be Liable For Stage 2 Bedsores?
Any member of a nursing home health care team may be accountable for a Stage 2 bedsore, including:
- A doctor that fails to diagnose a Stage 2 bedsore
- A nurse or caregiver that overlooks a Stage 2 bedsore
- A nurse or caregiver that does not clean a Stage 2 bedsore properly, leading to infections
- A nurse or caregiver that fails to reposition a patient, provide adequate hygiene care, or perform other duties to prevent Stage 2 bedsores
Regardless of who is at fault, the nursing home will be liable for the victim's Stage 2 bedsores and resulting losses. Your nursing home abuse attorney will help you determine all possible responsible parties during your free legal case review.
Proper health care involves recognizing and treating pressure ulcers. Patients in nursing homes have a meager chance of developing this type of injury if they receive adequate care and attention.
Thus, bedsores are often considered a sign of nursing home neglect. Stage 2 bedsores are visible and can serve as substantial evidence in legal action for nursing home abuse.
Apart from proof of injuries, other viable evidence may include:
- Medical records
- Medication prescriptions
- Victim's testimony highlighting a lack of care
- Diagnosis of health conditions caused by Stage 2 bedsores
- Incident reports that may indicate nursing home abuse or neglect
Furthermore, you can use the following forms of proof to show your losses:
- Hospital bills
- Records of missed workdays of family members
- Funeral and burial bills, in case of wrongful death
Compensation For Stage 2 Bedsore Victims
Filing a nursing home abuse claim against a healthcare provider or nursing home could help you recover financial compensation, including:
- Medical Bills: Compensation for all medical costs related to treating Stage 2 sores, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, etc.
- Disability: Compensation for disability-related expenses (loss of quality of life, mobility aids, physical therapy) if the Stage 2 bedsores lead to a complication that causes disability.
- Pain and Suffering: Monetary recovery for physical and emotional harm caused by the injury, including physical pain, emotional trauma, mental distress, etc.
- Loss of Quality of Life: Compensation for quality of life lost due to the injury and other health consequences, manifesting through reduced independence, social withdrawal, etc.
- Wrongful Death: Compensation for death-related damages if your loved one dies from their Stage 2 bedsores, including funeral and burial costs, pre-death treatment, and grief.
Settlement values for Stage 2 bedsore cases vary depending on the damages, the victim's age, and other factors. Your nursing home abuse lawyer will discuss the potential value of your settlement during your free legal case review.
Schedule a Free Legal Case Review With an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
Stage 2 bedsores almost always indicate nursing home abuse, specifically: neglect. If a patient receives adequate care and attention from nursing staff, the risk of developing bedsores is low, much less progressing into Stage 2 sores.
Did you or a loved one suffer bedsores due to a nursing home's negligence? If so, the experienced attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can provide the legal help you need.
Our team defends the legal rights of victims who contract preventable conditions caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, including bedsores, urinary tract infections, and more.
Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for a free legal case review. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team will remain private under an attorney-client relationship.
Our lawyers handle all accepted nursing home abuse cases on a contingency fee basis. You don't have to pay for our services unless we win your case.