Nursing home residents who have limited or no mobility face a heightened risk for developing bed sores, potentially fatal skin injuries that often develop over bony regions of the body and are caused by prolonged surface contact that may be the result of inadequate care.
The accomplished attorneys at Cullan & Cullan are medical doctors as well as lawyers, and we understand the physical, financial and emotional tolls nursing home abuse can inflict on families. If you believe a loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home, please call (602) 786-8860 for your free consultation; we welcome clients from the greater Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Mesa areas, and throughout Arizona.
What are Bed Sores?
Bed sores, which are also referred to as decubitus ulcers and pressure sores, are skin wounds that develop with continuous pressure, most often around the ankles, buttocks, heels, hips, shoulders or tailbone.
Nursing homes are responsible for repositioning residents who are unable to change positions on their own, such as those confined to a wheelchair or bed. Residents who are at risk for bed sores should also be provided with special cushions, pads, and mattresses designed to alleviate pressure on vulnerable areas of the body.
Bed sores can worsen with great speed, leading to severe pain and life-threatening complications.
Symptoms and Stages of Bed Sores
Bed sores progress in stages, which are accompanied by specific symptoms and include:
- Stage I – Skin may appear reddish and not lighten when touched; affected area may be uncomfortable to the individual and feel warmer or cooler than surrounding skin
- Stage II – Sores are open wounds; epidermis (outer layer of skin) and dermis (underlying tissue) are visibly damaged; may appear as pinkish-red abrasions or blisters
- Stage III – Sores are deep wounds that have penetrated through the skin and may appear as craters with dead, yellowish tissue
- Stage IV – Wounds may extend into muscle, tendon, and bone; deep wounds may contain dark-colored, crusty tissue
The sooner bed sores are diagnosed and treated, the better the chances for recovery. For additional information, please see our Bed Sores Treatment page.
Complications from Pressure Ulcers
Without treatment, bed sores can lead to potentially deadly health problems. The open wounds that develop as pressure ulcers deteriorate can lead to sepsis, a bacterial infection that can cause organ failure, and cellulitis, a tissue infection that can also contribute to fatal complications.
Bed sores can also cause deep infections of the bones and joints that reduce mobility and damage tissue and cartilage. Advanced decubitus ulcers can also allow the onset of an aggressive form of cancer that tends to develop in nonhealing, open wounds.
If you suspect a loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, please contact Cullan & Cullan today for your free case review. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping nursing home abuse victims and their families from the greater Phoenix area and throughout Arizona.