4 Things to Understand about Nursing Homes and Bed Sores

An elderly individual or person who is receiving care at a nursing home should not be required to live with bed sores. In many situations, bed sores are a good indicator that a person is being neglected. These sores can lead to infections that can jeopardize a person’s health and even lead to death. Sometimes also referred to as “pressure sores”, if you see these on your loved one you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced elder abuse lawyer. It also helps to understand some important details about the nature of bed sores.


# 1 – The Names for Bed Sores


Bed sores are injuries that occur when the pressure of a person’s weight reduces the blood supply to certain points on both the skin and underlying tissue. If not adequately treated, skin and other issues eventually die and leave an open wound. Bed sores occur among individuals who are unable to move to relieve that pressure, which is most common among the bedridden. While they’re frequently referred to as bed sores, these injuries are also sometimes referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers.


# 2 – There Are Four Stages of Bed Sores


Bed sores are broken into the following four stages:


  • Stage One. These sores involve darkened patches of unbroken skin that are painful to touch. Untreated, these sores can result in bleeding ulcers.
  • Stage Two. These sores are characterized by the breaking down, wearing away, and damage to the second layer of skin or the epidermis. These sores are often red or pinkish. If epidermal damage has occurred, these sores will appear like shallow indentations.
  • Stage Three. These are significant wounds that cause a deep opening through the skin that reveals fat and yellowish dead tissue.
  • Stage Four. These are large wounds with substantial tissue destruction. Bone, muscle, or tendons can be exposed and additional damage under healthy skin surrounding the ulcer is likely.


# 3 – Bed Sores Suggest Negligence and Other Issues Among Staff


Many people have bed sores, but a smaller number have seen them. These sores are not common. In most cases when a nursing home resident develops bed sores, something is inadequate with the care that individual is receiving. Bed sores result when a person remains in one position too long, which occurs in situations where a nursing home resident is either bedridden or in a wheelchair. Nursing homes should create policies as well as procedures to make sure that immobile residents are adequately assisted. If a resident does develop, the best nursing homes should provide immediate care.


# 4 – Where to Spot Bed Sores


Pressure sores commonly occur at locations like the spine, tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, heels, and elbow. Stage 1 and 2 bed sores are more common, but Stage 3 and Stage 4 sores are much likely to be encountered. If a  nursing home resident has a late-stage bed sore, they will likely need to be hospitalized. Surgery is sometimes also required to remove affected tissue as well as to clean and close the wound.


Speak with an Elder Abuse Attorney


You should not hesitate to speak with a skilled elder abuse lawyer if your loved one who resides in a nursing home has bed sores that have progressed beyond the early stages. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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