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What are Some Authoritative Websites Where I can Learn More About Bed Sores?
By Nursing Home Law Center
There are a number of resources on the web where one can learn more about bedsores. Bedsores are a frequent problem in immobile patients, particularly elderly ones. Healthcare professionals are getting the word out and seeking to educate the public on the dangers of bedsores, also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers.
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel has a website with educational and clinical resources. Along with many other sections there is a contact page for those with more questions.
The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care is an advocacy group looking out for the interests of people with long-term care needs. Formerly the NCCNHR, they have a website with a search function and contact information.
The American Professional Wound Care Association has education resources and keeps track of news relating to the topic. There is also an option to join.What is a Bedsore?
A bedsore, also known as a pressure sore or a decubitus ulcer, is a wound that develops on a person's body usually after long periods of immobility. The constant pressure on the part of the body where the pressure sore develops restricts the flow of blood to the skin and tissue. This causes the tissue to slowly die over time and a wound begins to open up.
Bedsores progressively get worse if not treated, and we can place each bedsore in a category based on its severity. The four categories of bedsores are:
- Stage I. The bedsore is only beginning to develop. The skin has not broken yet but has turned red. Later it may turn purple. It may also appear swollen and be warm and hard to the touch. If the bedsore is caught in this initial phase the treatment is easier and less invasive.
- Stage II. The bedsore has progressed and the skin has broken into abrasions. Blisters may be present instead of or along with the abrasions. Treatment is more intensive now and the risk of infection is elevated. If not treated, the wound can grow extremely serious and even be life-threatening.
- Stage III. The skin has worn away to reveal the underlying tissue. The tissue is damaged. Infection is now a serious threat and treatment options are more invasive.
- Stage IV. At this point the bedsore is a crater-like wound on the body. The skin and tissue are gone and the muscle and bone underneath are exposed. Treatment is necessary to save the patient's life and can include surgery to remove dead tissue as well as to graft healthy skin from elsewhere on the body to the site of the wound.
Bedsores form wherever the body comes into constant contact with a surface like a mattress or a wheelchair. The anatomy of the body and the position the patient sits or lays in determine which body parts bear the brunt of the pressure from contact. Pressure sores are more likely to form on parts of the body where there is little fat. Fat acts as a cushion to relieve pressure, although this is not a guarantee that no bedsore will form on fatty parts of the body.
The body parts where bedsores are most likely to form include:
- Back of head
- Lower back
Bedsores are a rampant problem in America, occurring mainly in hospitals and nursing homes where patients lie immobile for long periods of time. Fortunately, they are treatable, but first and foremost they are preventable.
Nursing home and hospital staff must take proper care of their patients, which includes turning them to relieve pressure on the body. There are also pressure relieving devices like heel boots and special mattresses.
Visit the links below to find out more about bedsores.
- The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care
- American Professional Wound Care Association