As that other name implies, bedsores occur when the patient is left in the same position in bed or a chair for long periods of time. If the person is unable to change positions periodically, the pressure eventually leads to sores. Bedsores are found most often on the tailbone, buttocks, spine, shoulder blades and the backs of the limbs.
Doctors break down the progress of bedsores into four stages:
- Stage I. The skin is unbroken, but may appear red or discolored. The site may be tender or painful, or feel firmer, softer, warmer or cooler than the surrounding skin.
- Stage II. At this point, the skin is beginning to become damaged or lost. The wound may resemble a blister, and be pinkish or red.
- Stage III. The sore has now become a deep wound, resembling a crater with some fat exposed. The damage may extend beneath healthy skin.
- Stage IV. The most serious stage. At this point, the wound is so deep that bones, muscle or tendons may be visible. The bottom of the wound may contain dead tissue, and the wound has likely extended beneath the surrounding skin.
Many nursing home residents cannot turn themselves over in bed or stand up out of a chair. They rely on staff members to help. But if that help does not arrive because of neglect, bedsores can be the result.
Bedsores can lead to serious complications, including sepsis, infections and cancer. Even if these do not occur, nobody living in a nursing home should have to deal with the pain and indignity of bedsores. They and their families may be able to fight back with a lawsuit against the facility that failed to provide decent care.
Source: Mayoclinic.org, “Bedsores (pressure sores),” Dec. 13, 2014