Stages of Bedsores

Bedsores are a vicious sign of patient neglect at medical establishments, including nursing homes. Medical facilities have been suggesting for years that bedsores are just part of the aging process or they coincide with certain medical conditions. This is not true and bed sores can be prevented when the patient is cared for properly.

When patients, who are already suffering due to a disability or are elderly, develop bedsores, this is an extremely cruel complication for them to endure. These sores can cause them pain, disability and considerably increases the chance of patients acquiring dangerous complications including gangrene, osteomyelitis or sepsis, which can lead to wrongful death in a nursing home.

The Four Stages of Bedsores

Hospitals and nursing homes use a scale to help determine and treat these bedsores. Bedsores are also known as decubitus ulcers and pressure sores or ulcers. By using this scale to categorize bedsores, according to their typical characteristics, some uniformity can be established. This assists medical facilities in the treatment of those suffering with bedsores.

Stage I

At first, a pressure sore will appear as an area of skin that is red and it could possibly itch. This area may also feel firm or warm and spongy to the touch. People with darker skin may have an area with a purple or blue hue, rather than the aforementioned red. It could also look ashen or flaky. Stage I bedsores will heal once the pressure has been relieved.

Stage II

Some skin loss has occurred at this point. This loss can be in the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin or in the dermis, which is the deeper layer of skin, or in both of these layers. The wound has become a sore that resembles an abrasion or blister. The tissues surrounding it may have a purple or red discoloration. If this bedsore is treated promptly, these sores can generally heal rather quickly.

Stage III

Once the bedsore has reached this stage, all the layers of skin have been affected down to the muscle. This process has now damaged or destroyed these tissues. The wound that has been created is a deep wound resembling a crater.

Stage IV

This is the most advanced and serious stage. Damage has now been done to the bone, muscle and the joints and tendons, which are the supporting structures. Large amounts of skin have been destroyed and these wounds are very difficult to cure. At this stage, they can cause lethal infections.

On occasion, a bedsore will be categorized as ‘unstageable.’ These are generally extremely advanced wounds involving muscle, skin and bone.

Pressure-Point Areas of Concern

Wheelchair Bound Individuals

  • Buttocks
  • Tailbone
  • Spine
  • Shoulder Blades

Long-Term Wheelchair Use can Sometimes Create Pressure Sores in These Areas Too

  • Back of the Arms
  • Legs

Bed Ridden Patients

  • Rims of Ears
  • Back or Sides of Head
  • Hipbones
  • Shoulders
  • Heels
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Tailbone
  • Lower Back
  • Toes

Bedsores are indeed a sign of nursing home abuse and are caused by the patient receiving inattentive care from the facility. Preventing these sores is not difficult. All the facility has to do to prevent these sores is give the patient the treatment they are being paid to provide.

If you or a loved one has developed a bedsore due to neglect at a nursing home we advise you to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer and hold the nursing home accountable for their negligence.