If your loved one developed stage 3 pressure ulcers as a resident at a nursing home, you might be wondering how the ulcers showed up in the first place. After all, enrolling a resident into a care facility is intended to ensure they are well taken care of by trained medical professionals.
Despite skilled nursing homes’ and assisted living facilities obligation to patients to care for their mental and physical well-being, medical negligence and neglect occurs at care facilities across the country every day. Fortunately, these negligent facilities shall be held accountable for their actions in court.
Speak with an experienced nursing home and assisted living abuse attorney at the Peck Law Group today to start the process of getting justice for your loved one by calling toll free 866-999-9085 or by filling out the free case evaluation form on our website.
Who is at Risk for Stage 3 Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores, bed sores, and pressure injury, are caused when constant pressure against the skin cuts off blood flow from the area. As a result, sores develop that cause a wound to develop.
At first, red or purple spots appear. When left without treatment, the sores may become infected and fill with pus. When seriously neglected, the sore can even expose the bone, causing osteomyelitis, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Those most seriously at risk for pressure ulcers are adults in nursing and assisted living facilities who have handicaps that impede their movement. Most commonly, these are bedridden or wheelchair-bound individuals who depend on nursing home staff to care for them.
Bed sores happen can happen in three ways: friction, pressure, and shear. Friction occurs when patients are moved by nursing home staff by dragging or pulling instead of lifting. Pressure, on the other hand, results from nursing home staff failing to reposition residents frequently enough. Shear happens when the skin shifts on the surface, but the underlying tissue and bones remain in the same place.
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and negligence poses a real threat to patients in their care for developing pressure ulcers. Patients with a limited range of movement must be adjusted in bed at least every two hours to efficiently prevent bed sores. To make matters worse, risk factors such as nursing home understaffing make nursing home residents especially susceptible.
Luckily, there is help for families who fall victim to pressure sores resulting from nursing home and assisted living neglect and negligence.
The Peck Law Group has over 52 years of combined experience in helping victims of nursing home abuse. Speak with an attorney at the Peck Law Group that specializes in pressure ulcers today for your free case evaluation by calling 866-999-9085.
What are the Effects of Pressure Ulcers?
Though the early stages of pressure ulcers aren’t very severe, when left untreated, the effects can get much worse.
At the onset, pressure ulcers form a red or purple spot on the skin. In this early stage, there will not yet be an open wound. Most of the time, nursing home staff are trained to recognize these spots and rapidly take action to prevent the worsening of the condition.
However, nursing home personnel don’t always get it right. If pressure sores are undetected, they quickly deteriorate into open wounds.
In fact, a pressure ulcer can progress from a red spot (stage one pressure ulcer) to a dangerous open wound in as little as a few hours. Eventually, pus and blood will start to leak from the wound, and it will begin tunneling further into the skin as time goes on.
Stage 2 Pressure Ulcers
When stage 1 pressure ulcers are left untreated, intact or open blisters, usually filled with pus, develop on the skin. These sores are called stage 2 pressure ulcers and are warm to the touch, tender, and pose a risk for infection. What’s worse is that if these sores are left untreated, the condition gets worse.
Stage 3 Pressure Ulcers
Stage 3 pressure ulcers happen when nursing home staff fail to provide residents with the adequate care and treatment they are entitled to. They are the second to last stage of pressure ulcers and come with more intense pain and more severe sores.
Stage 3 pressure ulcers penetrate beneath the top layers of skin but have not yet reached the underlying muscle or bone. Even though stage 3 pressure ulcers aren’t the most severe form of bedsores, they must be taken seriously to prevent worsening.
The most prevalent symptoms of stage 3 pressure ulcers include:
- Fluid or pus oozing from the wound
- Redness surrounding the sore
- Skin turning black (necrosis)
Stage 3 pressure ulcers are deep, crater-like wounds that cause an extreme amount of pain and suffering. Sometimes, the sores can even expose fat tissue. Since stage 3 pressure ulcers are a deep open wound, they are especially susceptible to infection, which could cause more serious medical issues, even death.
As the bedsores attack underlying tissue, nursing home residents are left exposed to germs that can cause dangerous infections. This means that without swift intervention, something as simple as neglecting to check on your loved one every couple of hours could lead to their death.
Taking immediate action when bed sores arise is vital to the mental and physical health of nursing home residents.
Remember: patients with bedsores require specialized and urgent medical attention. With every passing hour, pressure wounds continue to get worse.
Treating Stage 3 Pressure Ulcers
Treating stage 3 pressure ulcers is a complicated process. The most important part of treatment involves taking pressure off the wound. Then, doctors work to clean the wound out by debridement, which involves irrigating the area and sometimes even surgically removing dead areas of skin and tissue.
Next, water and saltwater rinses are used to flush out the area and keep it clean. Gauze, foam, or other types of bandages are used to keep the area clean and dry, which are changed frequently.
It’s important to note that even if you seek immediate medical intervention, there is no guarantee that bed sores can be cured. When left without treatment for too long, they may never be able to heal. This is especially true since the fragility of elder skin makes it more difficult for the body to heal from wounds.
Residents in nursing homes may also have a weakened immune system. Consequently, when pressure sore infections occur, there is a dire risk for death or dismemberment. That’s why when nursing home staff causes a patient to develop sores, they must be held accountable for their actions.
If your family has been affected by medical neglect and / or negligence, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. Speak with an attorney at the Peck Law Group today that specializes in pressure ulcers for your free 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.