Bedsores aren’t just minor nuisances for many people

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

People who are bedridden and those who have severe mobility issues often can’t adjust their position to prevent pressure from being placed on specific points in the body. They will often rely on other people to help them out with repositioning.

Patients in nursing homes and those who depend on care aides should be moved frequently to reduce the risk of bedsores forming. These sores might not seem like they are big deals, but they can actually lead to death.

Some areas are more commonly impacted

Some areas of the body are more commonly associated with pressure sores. Typically, bony areas like the tailbone or ankles are affected. The buttocks is sometimes impacted because of the weight and pressure that is constantly applied to the area when sitting. The shoulder blades, back and hips might also be affected.

The exact area that a patient is likely going to suffer from these sores depends on where the pressure from the body is located. A person who is confined to bed and positioned on one side will likely have pressure sores on the side of the body that is in contact with the mattress. Pressure sores on the back in this case aren’t likely.

Another issue that can lead to pressure sores is shearing force, such as what occurs when patients are transferred from a bed to a wheelchair or similar actions. The areas that come into contact with surfaces during the transfer might end up with pressure sores if the process isn’t managed properly.

Severity of these sores varies

The severity of pressure sores varies from stage I to stage IV, with stage I being the least serious and stage IV being the most serious. The stage is determined by the amount of damage that is done to the affected area.

Stage I is a painful area that is red, but the skin isn’t broken.

Stage II is an open sore or blister.

Stage III is a crater with some damage to underlying tissues.

Stage IV is a large, deep sore that severely impacts surrounding tissues and can result in wide scale tissue death.

Management and treatment

Managing and treating a pressure sore is often challenging, especially in patients who have catastrophic injuries who require specific positioning. The earlier treatment is started, the better the likely outcome will be. Often, patients with bedsores will need to have the area cleaned and might need antibiotics. In severe cases, surgical debridement, or removal of dead tissue, might be necessary.

When bedsores occur due to the negligence of health care workers, the patient might choose to seek compensation.

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