Detecting and Preventing the Four Stages of Bedsores

In a recent Anne Arundel County nursing home blog, our attorneys reported on the problem of pressure ulcers in nursing homes, and the importance of detecting and treating bedsores before they develop into serious infections that could be life threatening.

Bedsores, or decubitus ulcers, affect nearly one million people in the U.S. causing around 60,000 deaths due to complications from the advanced development of the ulcers, like osteomyelitis or sepsis.

As reported in a related Baltimore nursing home injury lawyer blog, pressure sores often form due to nursing home negligence, when immobile residents, or residents who have difficulty moving, are confined to their wheelchairs or beds, restricting the blood flow on certain areas of the body where there is prolonged pressure, causing a lack of circulation and skin breakdown.

Pressure sores often develop in four stages:

• Stage I: When the skin on an area of the body starts to break down, it becomes discolored and red. This is an important stage for healthcare practitioners to identify bedsores, especially with at-risk residents, as pressure sores can be prevented and reversed if caught in the early stages.
• Stage II: The discolored area of a developing bedsore turns into a blister or scrape that forms a sore, resulting from the skin’s breakdown. If the sore does not receive immediate treatment, the skin will continue to deteriorate.
• Stage III: If the pressure sore is not cared for properly, the skin will continue to break down, causing significant loss of the soft tissue beneath the skin’s surface, forming a crater.
• Stage IV: The crater beneath the skin’s surface deepens, in many cases as large as a grapefruit or fist, where the muscle and bone along with tendons and joints, become severely damaged. Residents who suffer from Stage IV pressure sores often experience severe pain and frequent depression, and the massive ulcers can lead to illnesses like sepsis or osteomyelitis that can lead to wrongful death.

Pressure ulcers are entirely preventable, and all residents who are immobile, or confined to a bed or wheelchair should have daily ulcer inspections, and should be moved every two hours while confined to a bed and every fifteen minutes if confined to a wheelchair, to relieve any skin pressure. In an effort to prevent pressure ulcers, residents’ skin should also be protected from any moisture that might be caused by sweat, incontinence, or wound drainage.

In Maryland or the Washington D.C. area, contact our Baltimore County nursing home attorneys today for a free consultation about your nursing home rights.

New York Hospital Bedsore Lawsuit Results in $5.4M Award, About, July 5, 2011

Related Web Resources:

National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC)

Maryland Department of Aging

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel

Related Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Sued in Two Different Wrongful Death Lawsuits, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, July 25, 2011
Nursing Home Sued Again for Wrongful Death and Negligence, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, July 1, 2011
Nursing Home Sued For Negligence after Patient Died from Pressure Sore Complication, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2011
Daughter Sues Nursing Home for Negligence After Mother Dies from Pressure Sores, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2011
Decubitus Ulcers and Nursing Home Negligence, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, February 14 2011
The Danger of Sepsis in Nursing Homes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, September 27, 2010

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