Pressure Sores

Pressure Sores

Nursing home abuse and neglect often results in pressure sores. Pressure sores, also referred to as bedsores or pressure ulcers are injuries to skin and underlying tissue which result from prolonged pressure on the skin. These sores most often develop on bony areas but by no means are limited to those areas of the body. Those most at risk of developing pressure sores are those with medical conditions which limit their ability to change positions, are confined to a wheelchair, or confined to a bed for extended periods. Pressure sores can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat.[1] Pressure ulcers can cause serious infections, some which can be life-treatening. They can be a problem for people in nursing homes.[2]

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel is a professional organization that promotes the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. The organization categorizes pressure sores according to their severity as follows:

Stage I
This is the beginning stage and can exhibit the following characteristics

  • Skin is unbroken
  • The skin will appear reddish on light-skinned people and will not briefly lighten (blanch) when touched.
  • On darker-skinned people, the skin may show discoloration and also will not blanch when touched.
  • The site may be tender, painful, firm, soft, warm or cool compared to the surrounding skin

Stage II
Stage II may present as follows:

  • The outer layer of skin (epidermis) and part of the underlying layer of skin (dermis) is damaged or lost.
  • The wound by be shallow and pinkish or red.
  • The wound may look like a fluid-filled blister or a ruptured blister

Stage III
At Stage III, the ulcer becomes a deep wound:

  • The loss of skin usually exposes some fat
  • The ulcer looks "crater-like"
  • The bottom of the wound may have some yellowish, dead tissue
  • The damage may extend beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin.

Stage IV
A stage IV ulcer shows large-scale loss of tissue:

  • The wound may expose muscle, bone, or tendons
  • The bottom of the wound likely contains dead tissue that is yellowish or dark and crusty
  • The damage often extends beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin

A pressure ulcer is considered unstageable if its surface is covered with yellow, brown, black, or dead tissue. It is not possible to visibly ascertain the depth of the wound.

Deep tissue injury
A deep tissue injury may have the following characteristics:

  • The skin is purple or maroon but the skin is not broken
  • A blood-filled blister is present
  • The area is painful, firm or mushy
  • The area is warm or cool compared with the surrounding skin.
  • In people with darker skin, a shiny patch or a change in skin tone may develop

Where Pressure Sores Occur Most Often

If your loved one is wheelchair-bound, look for pressure sores in these areas:

  • Tailbone or buttocks
  • Shoulder blades and spine
  • Backs of arms and legs

If confined to the bed, pressure sores might be found in the these areas:

  • The side or back of the head
  • Rim of the ears
  • Shoulders or shoulder blades
  • Hip, lower back, or tailbone
  • Heels, ankles, and skin behind the knees

Pressure sores are avoidable in almost all circumstances. Don't let the nursing home tell you otherwise. Preventing pressure sores can be as simple as:

  • Keeping skin clean and dry
  • Changing position every two hours
  • Using pillows and products that relieve pressure

Assisted living facilities have no business allowing residents to develop pressure sores. At the Hughey Law Firm, our nursing home attorneys can help if your loved one has suffered neglect leading to bedsores. Every resident should have a care plan that prevents pressure sores or bed sores, and they should not occur if the plan is followed. Pressure sores can be caused not only by pressure, but by failing to provide proper nutrition and hydration. In some cases, failing to provide proper toileting and other failures lead to discomfort and unnecessary pain. Pressure sores are horrible and painful. We focus solely on helping you prosecute your nursing home claims and get justice for any pressure sores that develop due to abuse or neglect.

Unfortunately, pressure sores occur all too often. If your loved one has fallen victim to this neglect, contact us today. Our experienced nursing home attorneys are ready to help.

Free initial consultation. Personal injury cases handled on contingency.

[1] "Bedsores (Pressure Sores)."Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, by The Mayo Clinic Staff. Dec. 14, 2014, Viewed Sep. 3, 2015.

[2] "Health Topics -> Pressure Sores";MedLine Plus;U.S. National Library of Medicine;National Institutes of Health;Aug. 19, 2014;Viewed Sep. 3, 2015;