Pressure sores are a serious sign of nursing home abuse or neglect and are caused when there is unrelieved pressure to the skin. They can cause very serious health problems like infections and other life-threatening injuries. So why are people in nursing homes at more of a risk for pressure sores? Residents or people staying at hospitals are at a higher risk because they often stay sedentary in a bed or wheelchair. Although alarming, pressure sores are not a new problem. They have become a more prevalent problem in nursing homes throughout the United States. The stages help identify what the pressure sore’s advancement is and what required treatment is needed. (1)
How Can Nursing Homes Let Stage Four Pressure Sores Happen?
A certain severity of neglect is needed to allow an elderly patient to develop stage four pressure sores, which we need to understand. To understand this, one thing a person needs to understand is how pressure sores develop and how they can be prevented or treated in early stages. When a patient is confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed, the continued pressure that is put on the joints and areas of the body that have contact with the hard surface will sometimes create a degree of pressure and limit the circulation to that affected area. When the blood is cut off to the area, the cells are deprived of much needed oxygen and begin to die off. That process, however, takes time to occur. (2) It is often shown in four stages, which include the following:
- Stage 1: This is typically the beginning of pressure sores. The skin is still usually intact but will appear red on people with a fair complexion. It will not blanch when touched, and the affected area is usually painful and warm to the touch.
- Stage 2: In stage 2, the bedsore mostly becomes an open wound. It may have a crater-type appearance and the areas of fat around the infected area may be exposed. It may appear pinkish in color and look like a fluid-filled blister.
- Stage 3: At this point, the sores are now considered deep wounds. They may appear to look like a crater, with or without yellow-colored dead tissue attached. The damage may have gone beyond the infected areas and into healthy skin layers, and the open skin may show fat around the infected area.
- Stage 4: Stage 4 is actually the most advanced stage of pressure sores. The wound has become so damaged that bones, tendons, and muscles may be exposed. The bottom part of the pressure sore may show the dead tissue. (1)
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Stage four pressure sores are known as the end result of inferior care given to a patient over an extended period of time. Pressure sores are highly noticeable even at Stage One, so it is highly improbable that a Stage Four pressure sore would form as the result of the normal aging process. Neglect is typically involved in some way. The prevention and treatment involved with pressure sores requires very little more than moving the patient in order to relieve the pressure and simple first aid/care. If a loved one has reached Stage Three or Four, it is more likely that neglect was responsible for it. (2) If you or a loved one has suffered because of a pressure sore, you may have a case. Call MDL today for a free consultation to discuss your possible case.