When the skin is under a great deal of pressure for too long, a bruise can develop that eventually progresses to something much worse. Bedsores usually occur in people who must sit or lay in bed most of the day. In nursing homes, the staff is trained to move patients regularly to stop the blood from pooling and causing pressure ulcers. Why is a bedsore so dangerous? When an older person must deal with these skin ulcers, the result may be life-threatening. Read about the progression of bedsores so you can be on the lookout for them in a loved one.
Stage One: Red Spot
At first glance, the beginning of a bedsore may look fairly harmless. How can you tell if the redness is due to a bedsore or not? When a pressure ulcer first develops, it is not only red, but is also warm to the touch. If the proper intervention occurs, the red spot should disappear in a matter of days.
Stage Two: Blistering
If the position of the patient is not changed after the blood begins to pool, it may develop into a blister. It may also break open or crack. The person may start to feel discomfort and complain of pain in the area. Finally, it may appear to be bruised around the blister. Once the area is cleaned and the patient is moved, the sore should resolve in a week or two.
Stage Three: Crater
When the bedsore continues developing into this stage, there is likely damage under the skin. The tissue is compromised if there is no intervention, and the skin will appear to sink in or crater. There may be a distinctive foul odor emanating from this area of the body, and there may be fluid draining from the wound. This is a critical stage, as the sore needs medical dressing and medication. A pressure that gets to this stage will take up to four months to heal properly, and that is only with medical attention.
Stage Four: Overwhelming
At this final stage, a bedsore has expanded to the surrounding area. It is likely the infection causing it has permeated down to the muscles, ligaments, and even bones. This type of wound is life-threatening and extremely painful. A person may need surgical intervention to clean out the sore and close it without further infection. This type of injury can take several months to heal, even with medical help.
A bedsore may be a sign that the nursing home staff is not doing its job correctly. If there is a suspicion of neglect or abuse, a lawyer, like a nursing home lawyer from Brown Kiely LLP, can help sort things out.