Wound care for a bedsore usually requires extensive education and training of patients, healthcare providers, caregivers and families to ensure the patient’s health. Taking steps to prevent the condition is essential, as is appropriate, timely intervention when a wound appears.
Wound management is extensive, often involving the development of a comprehensive care plan that considers every factor creating the problem. The factors involved are those that contribute to and affect the outcome of the wound, along with the health of the patient. Because the response to treatment is different for each patient, no single discipline and methodology can meet every need of the patient suffering with a wound.Providing Wound Optimal Care
The best type of wound care for a bedsore usually involves a well-educated, dedicated team of multi-discipline caregivers working in unison to assist the patient.
Bedsores, pressure sores, decubitus ulcers and pressure ulcers all refer to the same medical condition. Typically, the sore is the result of pressure, friction or shearing to skin and underlying tissue on a bony prominence of the body. These areas can include an ankle, hipbone, sacrum, tailbone, heal, shoulder blade, shoulder, back or any area with minimal or no body fat.
When left untreated, or poorly managed, a mild or moderate bedsore can quickly progress to advancing stages, causing life threatening problems for the patient. Because of that, it is essential to provide the best wound care possible.
Common methodologies involved in pressure ulcer management include:Prevention: The Avoidance of Necessary Wound Care
Nearly every type of bedsore can be minimized, or eliminated altogether, by repositioning the patient every 15 to 30 minutes. This is because decubitus ulcers caused by pressure are known to produce ischemia (lack of blood flow) to underlying skin and tissue. There are numerous factors contributing to the development of a bedsore. Some of these include:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Chronic condition
- Impaired sensation
- Steroid use
- Pressure, friction, moisture, incontinence or shear
Providing adequate support to the patient’s skin surface and adjusting their position every one to two hours alleviates pressure to the body. Both shear and friction must be reduced. Sharing mechanical forces by gravity interplay and friction by dragging the body against a course surface can cause significant damage and increase the potential of bedsore development.Wound Healing
To increase the potential of complete wound healing of the damage skin, the decubitus ulcer must be properly assessed, evaluated and staged, from stage I to stage IV. Proper diagnosis will include the temperature of the wound, noted excess exudates, infection, foreign bodies, necrosis (dead tissue) and recurrent trauma from pressure or friction.
The healthcare provider must look for signs of tunneling or undermining along with eschar, necrosis, granulation (tissue with new blood vessels). The diagnosis should also include an assessment of adjacent tissue along with any signs of tissue tenderness, pain, unusual odor, sweats, chills and fever.
Optimizing the wound environment is essential to ensure healing of the ulcer. To promote healing, the health provider must ensure the patient is receiving essential care including:
- Adequate hydration & nutrition
- Removal of all nonviable (necrotic) tissue at the sore site
- Adequate balance of moisture to the skin
- Wound protection using proper dressings based on the stage of the bedsore
- Proper barrier products designed to provide protection against moisture and adhesives
- Pain management
- Wound cleansing and irrigation into underlying skin layer tunnels and cavities
- The prevention or management of infection
Removing nonviable tissue is often performed through debridement (autolytic, chemical, sharp, surgical, mechanical) to prevent infection and remove undesired skin growth. Typically, debridement stimulates new healthy skin growth during the healing process.
Pressure ulcers during the advancing stages are often very slow to heal. This is because of a variety of continued adverse factors including poor nutrition, pressure, or a medical condition. With poor treatment, the condition can easily spread deep into tissues, causing localized or systemic infection including osteomyelitis, which could lead to death.Hiring Legal Representation When Wound Care Fails or is Never Used
The presence of a bedsore can significantly increase the potential of death to the patient. Fortunately, nearly every type of pressure sore is avoidable. However, when they do occur, it is often an indicator of neglect or abuse by the caregiver. As a result, family members of loved ones suffering a bedsore will hire legal representation to stop the neglect while seeking justice.
If your loved one is suffering a bedsore while under the care of medical staff, doctors, nurses, nursing aides or other healthcare provider, it is imperative to speak with Nursing Home Law Center LLC at (800) 926-7565. Our skilled attorneys provide a free initial consultation to discuss legal options to stop the neglect immediately.Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources