Bedsores are an unfortunate reality for more than 2.5 million Americans every year. They are especially common in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, where residents may be bedridden, immobile, or sedentary.
Also called pressure ulcers, pressure sores, pressure injuries or decubitus ulcers, bedsores can vary from mild to severe. In order to prevent bedsores in nursing homes, residents should be turned and repositioned frequently, provided quality nutrition, and given regular skin care.
Severe, untreated, or recurring bedsores may be an indication of elder abuse or neglect. Contact Peck Law Group at 866-999-9085 or premierlegal.org/evaluation/ to discuss your legal options with a qualified California bed sores attorney.
Treatment During the Four Stages of a Bedsore
Bedsore injuries are classified into four stages, with Stage 4 being the most severe. Sores at each stage require varying intensities of treatment that may involve nursing home staff and/or other medical professionals.
Stage 1 Bedsores
In Stage 1, only the outer layer of skin is affected. The area looks discolored and feels warm to the touch. The person may describe painful, burning, or itching sensations.
As soon as symptoms begin, immediately remove pressure from the area. The person should move or be moved at least once every two hours, and the sore washed with soap and water.
If a Stage 1 bedsore does not improve in two to three days, see a doctor.
Stage 2 Bedsores
Stage 2 bedsores affect deeper layers of skin and may have an open wound, sore, scrape, or blister. The area will be very painful and may ooze pus. Skin around the wound may be discolored or swollen.
In this stage, bedsores should be washed, dried, and bandaged. Change bandages frequently, and clean the wound with saline during each bandage change.
Bedsores at this stage should heal within three weeks. See a doctor if the sore does not show improvement or if any signs of infection appear, such as redness, pus, or fever.
Stage 3 Bedsores
A bedsore enters Stage 3 when there is damage to fat tissue below the skin. The sore often looks like a crater. There may be signs of an infection, such as a foul odor, pus, drainage, red edges, and feeling warm to the touch. There may also be blackened tissue in or around the sore.
Stage 3 bedsores need medical attention. A doctor may remove dead tissue with a scalpel during a procedure called debridement. They may also prescribe ointments, pain relievers, and/or antibiotics.
Bedsores in Stage 3 may require surgery to remove affected issue and/or graft healthy skin over the wound. Stage 3 sores typically take 1-4 months to heal completely.
Stage 4 Bedsores
Stage 4 bedsores are severe and require immediate medical attention. A sore reaches Stage 4 when the wound is deep or affects a large area. The wound may be so deep that muscles, tendons, and bone are visible or damaged.
Infection is very likely at this stage, and immediate medical attention is needed. The sore may require surgical debridement, skin grafting, or even amputation of the affected area. Stage 4 sores take months to years to heal.
Bedsores Due to Abuse or Neglect
Unfortunately, bedsores are sometimes caused or worsened by a caregiver’s failure to prevent, treat, or seek medical care. A qualified attorney can help you sue for damages to cover medical care, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses.
The Peck Law Group bed sores lawyers have more than half a century of experience litigating nursing home abuse and neglect cases in California. Call us at 866-999-9085 or fill out our online form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.