Our Experienced Nursing Home Injury Attorneys Explain Some Important Things You Should Know About Bedsores
When nursing home negligence occurs, bedsores are one of the most common signs. Bedsores occur when one area of the body experiences pressure for a long period of time, especially where the skin and bone are close in contact. They are also called called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. Bedsores are common on the hips, ankles, heels and tailbone. When pressure is applied constantly for a long period of time, blood is cut off from the skin and underlying tissue. This results in death and deterioration of the skin and underlying tissue. Since nursing home residents are not very active, their risk for bedsores is high.
What is a Bedsore and How Are They Classified and Treated?
While generally defined as the deterioration of skin and underlying tissue because of pressure, not every bedsore is equally dangerous. In fact, there are essentially 4 different stages of bed sores ranging from initial development to the final and most fatal stage. They key with bedsores is to find and treat them, before they get worse. Here are the 4 stages:
- Stage 1: The affected area will have a red or blue tint, depending on the victim’s complexion. The area may also be painful and warm to the touch. The skin is still intact at this stage.
- Stage 2: The skin develops an open wound, with a pinkish color and a fluid-filled blister. It may look like a crater with areas of infection exposed.
- Stage 3: The crater becomes a deep wound, with yellow dead tissue (slough) attached. The damage now spreads to healthy layers of the skin.
- Stage 4: The most advanced stage, with so much damage that bone, muscle, or tendon may be exposed. Dry, dead tissue can be attached as well.
Stages 1 and 2 are treatable with antibiotics and cleaning solutions, along with diligent monitoring and frequent movement. This prevents further infection and allows blood to flow to the affected area.
Stages 3 and 4 are more serious, sometimes requiring surgery to remove the dead tissue. It is extremely important to change bandages frequently and keep the wound clean, along with any antibiotic prescriptions.
If left untreated, bedsores can lead to other serious medical conditions. These include cellulitis, meningitis, sepsis, and other types of infections that can result in wrongful death.
Bedsores And Nursing Home Negligence
Preventing bedsores is the best way to handle this potential problem. Nursing homes should ensure that residents change positions regularly, depending on whether they are in a wheelchair or a bed. This is important for blood flow. The staff should also look at the patient’s body, by lifting the bed sheet, and examining the patient’s underside. A pressure reducing mattress also helps. In addition, nursing homes should keep the patient’s skin clean and dry. Although residents may have physical difficulty, any exercise possible promotes blood flow and helps reduce the risk of bedsores.
It is also important for you, as a family member, to look at the patient for evidence of bedsores. This may mean turning the patient, if they cannot move themselves and looking for areas of changing skin color. If you see any changes, you should contact the staff immediately. Also, it is a good idea to take photographs of the area on a regular basis. This is important so you can determine, over a period of time, whether the condition is getting better or worse.
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If you have any questions concerning bedsores caused by nursing home negligence, contact our experienced nursing home injury attorneys for more information by calling (800) 762-9300 or by email . You can also get started by simply filling out one of our case intake forms, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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