Types of Bedsores

BedsoresBedsores are a common problem for elderly individuals, especially for those who cannot get up and move about on their own. As constant pressure is put on the skin, sores can occur because there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the area. The skin will actually break down or die and this leads to sores that are very hard to heal. Patients who are in a nursing home setting and cannot move on their own are especially prone. Staff at a nursing home are obligated to move a patient on a regular basis to help avoid the development of bedsores, but that does not mean they still do not happen.

While staff members should be obligated to check patients for bedsores on a regular basis, it is also important for loved ones to be aware of the problem too. There are actually different levels of severity in these sores that can affect the patient in different ways.

Different Stages of Bedsores

There are four stages of bedsores going from the least severe to the worst and as bedsores advance toward stage four, they become incredibly difficult to manage or eradicate.

  • Stage I – At this stage, the bedsore is just beginning. The skin has not been broken, but a sore will appear as a red mark that is warm or cool to the touch. It may or may not be painful. On darker skinned individuals, it may appear purple or ashen instead of red.
  • Stage II – At this stage, the bedsore will become an open wound. The outer layer of skin has become sloughed away or destroyed and the dermis may show damage as well. It will usually be pink or red in color and shallow.
  • Stage III – At this point, the bedsore will be deep. Skin loss is extremely serious and fat may be showing as well. The sore will be deep and the skin inside of the sore will be dead or yellow in color.
  • Stage IV – This is the worst type of bedsore. It can mean loss of tissue including muscle and tendons. At this point, muscle and tendon tissue and bone may be showing through the hole in the skin. Dead tissue may appear around the edges or at the bottom of the wound.

Bedsores, if left untreated, will progress and, as they worsen, they become harder and harder to manage even by professional caretakers.

How Bedsores Can Be Treated

The faster bedsores are identified the easier treatment will be to heal them. If the sore has reached stage IV, then it could actually take years for it to completely heal. In a nursing home facility, the staff will need to do the following:

  • Reposition the patient regularly
  • Clean any existing bedsores
  • Bandage the wounds properly

Negligence in the nursing home can result in infected bedsores that rapidly progress in severity. If a nursing home staff member has been negligent, the bedsore will continue to worsen. In a case like this, the patient has not received the care required by the Nursing Home Reform Act and a lawsuit needs to be filed by the patient or a loved one.

Bedsores are common in elderly individuals, but they should be avoided at all costs, especially in nursing home situation. If the staff at that facility does their proper duty to reposition the resident regularly, then bedsores should be very rare. If the nursing home staff handles wound management properly, sores should not become a serious issue. However, negligence and nursing home abuse often takes the form of mismanagement or complete inaction when it comes to bedsores on patients.