Bed sores or pressure ulcers are skin wounds that develop as a result of too much pressure being placed on the skin and tissues. The pressure is placed on the skin and tissue because a patient is left immobile in bed or in a wheelchair, unable to shift or move in order to escape the bones and body pressing down on the mattress or wheelchair seat.
Bed sores can develop almost anywhere on the body but are most common in areas where your bones are very close to your skin, such as in your ankles, elbows, back, heels or hips. Regardless of what body part they affect, there are different types of bed sores with differing levels of risk to patients.
Types of Bed Sores
Bed sores can develop through different stages if not properly treated. Stage I bed sores are much less of a health risk than Stage IV bed sores and if bed sores progress to advanced stages, this is also a clear sign that the patient has not been properly cared for by the nursing home or other caregiver. As such, it is important to understand what type of bed sores you or a family member have if you wish to pursue a claim for nursing home abuse or neglect.
The different types of bed sores include:
- Stage I bed sores: This is the earliest stage of bed sores and is the least serious type. The patient may experience pain and the skin will be red at the bed sore site, but there are no open wounds at this stage.
- Stage II bed sores: This is the second stage of bed sores, and this type of bed sore has developed into an open wound. The wound that forms is also called a pressure ulcer and is an area of broken skin that is generally very painful to the patient. Stage II bed sores can look as though they are blisters or even shallow craters in the skin.
- Stage III bed sores: This is the third type of bed sore and at this point, the damage extends to the tissue below the skin. This pressure sore will look like a crater and you might see some fat in the crater.
- Stage IV bed sores: These are the most serious type of bed sores. The pressure ulcer will reach deep into the tissue, tendons, muscles and even to the bone. Serious complications can result from this type of bed sore.
If a patient has developed any type of bed sores, but especially Stage II, Stage III or Stage IV bed sores, this is a clear sign that the nursing home or caregiver has not provided the appropriate care and treatment to the patient. A nursing home abuse attorney should be consulted so you can learn about your legal rights.
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.