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Causes, Signs and Stages of Bedsores or Pressure Ulcers

When an elderly loved one moves to a nursing home, there are many things in which the family should be aware. One common sign of nursing home abuse is the presence of bedsores.

When your loved one remains in a position for too long, the pressure can restrict blood flow, leading to decay of cells in certain spots on the body. These spots become “bedsores” also known as “pressure ulcers.”

Bedsores or pressure ulcers are almost always avoidable. They occur when nursing home staff fails to properly monitor patients and elderly residents remain in one position for an overly long time. When your loved one is unable to turn or adjust on their own, you must be able to depend on nursing home staff. Failure to properly monitor patients is a form of nursing home abuse that could result in dangerous and painful bedsores.

If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, the attorneys at Cullan & Cullan can help. The best way to learn about your rights and options is to speak with one of our lawyers in person. Please call (602) 786-8860 today to schedule a free consultation at our Phoenix office.

Where Should I Look for Bedsores?

It is important to know what to watch for when your loved one is in a nursing home. Families must be attentive. Even in nursing homes with the best reputation, mistakes happen and standards may not always be met with strict adherence. Family members of the nursing home patients are often the people who can first notice beginning signs of abuse.

Bedsores are a gradual breakdown of the skin. Depending on whether the nursing home patient is in a wheelchair or confined to a bed indicates where bedsores may likely occur. For residents in a wheelchair, bedsores may develop on the:

  • Shoulder blades
  • Spine
  • Tailbone
  • Buttocks
  • Any other areas of the body which rests against the wheelchair
  • Ears
  • Shoulder blades
  • Tailbone
  • Lower back
  • Hip
  • Ankles
  • Heels
  • Skin behind the knees.

The 4 Stages of Bedsore Progression

The Mayo clinic has identified 4 stages of bedsore progression:

  • Stage 1: – The beginning stages of the bedsore where the skin is not yet broken. The skin may be slightly discolored or reddened and the pressure site may be tender to the touch, inconsistent with the temperature of the surrounding skin (warmer or cooler).
  • Stage 2: – A shallow pinkish or reddish wound that may look like a ruptured blister or a fluid-filled blister. Although not quite a sore, the outer layer of skin is lost.
  • Stage 3: – A deep, crater-like wound. The loss of skin exposes some yellowish dead tissue and fat. The damage may go below the bottom of the crater.
  • Stage 4: – The wound exposes muscle, bone or tendons. Inside the sore, there is dark, crusty dead tissue. The damage extends beyond the ulcer area, below healthy layers of skin.

Nursing homes have a duty to provide adequate staff and provide caregivers who have a proper understanding of bedsore prevention. Further, nursing home staff should be sure to quickly address any skin condition appearing on their patient.

If you notice a bedsore in any stage on your loved one, action must be taken. Untreated sores are harmful and are at danger of infection. The sooner you begin bedsore treatment, the better.

If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, please contact Cullan & Cullan today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the surrounding areas of Arizona.


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