Bedsores fall into one of four stages based on their severity. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a professional organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of pressure sores, has defined each stage as follows:
* Stage I. A pressure sore begins as a persistent area of red skin that may itch or hurt and feel warm and spongy or firm to the touch. In blacks, Hispanics and other people with darker skin, the mark may appear to have a blue or purple cast, or look flaky or ashen. Stage I wounds are superficial and go away shortly after the pressure is relieved.
* Stage II. At this stage, some skin loss has already occurred — either in the outermost layer of skin (the epidermis), the skin’s deeper layer (the dermis), or in both. The wound is now an open sore that looks like a blister or an abrasion, and the surrounding tissues may show red or purple discoloration.
* Stage III. By the time a pressure ulcer reaches this stage, the damage has extended to the tissue below the skin, creating a deep, crater-like wound.
* Stage IV. This is the most serious and advanced stage. A large-scale loss of skin occurs, along with damage to underlying muscle, bone, and even supporting structures such as tendons and joints.
If you use a wheelchair, you’re most likely to develop a pressure sore on:
* Your tailbone or buttocks
* Your shoulder blades and spine
* The backs of your arms and legs where they rest against the chair
When you’re bed-bound, pressure sores can occur in any of these areas:
* The back or sides of your head
* The rims of your ears
* Your shoulders or shoulder blades
* Your hipbones, lower back or tailbone
* The backs or sides of your knees, heels, ankles and toes
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.