Bedsore death cases are frighteningly common in nursing homes. Among residents, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that roughly 1 out of 10 patients suffers from bedsores at any point in time. An estimated 13 percent of men and 11 percent of women who are currently in nursing homes develop bedsore symptoms. Although this problem can be caught and treated in the early stages, poor nursing home care can cause it to reach a life-threatening state.
In stage one, the skin is not broken. On lighter skin tones, the skin may appear slightly red. Darker skin tones will show some discoloration and the site may be tender or painful. If this area is touched, it will not lighten like normal skin. At this stage, the bedsores may feel warmer or cooler than the surrounding skin.
Once bedsores reach stage two, the skin may be damaged or lost. The bedsore will now appear reddish or yellow to the naked eye. Depending on the bedsore, it may look like a blister. Typically, stage one and stage two injuries do not lead to bedsore death. These two stages are the most treatable and can be remedied by attentive nursing care staff.
If the bedsores are not caught in the earlier stages, they will develop into stage three and stage four bedsores. In stage three, the bedsore becomes a deep wound and some fat may be exposed. The wound may look like a crater and some yellow-colored, dead tissue may develop. Unless the patient has underlying medical conditions, stage three wounds will not lead to bedsore deaths. These cases can still be spotted and treated, but nursing homes that do not provide proper care may let the bedsores go untreated.
By stage four, the ulcer develops large-scale tissue loss. The damage will go beneath the outer layer of the skin and penetrate previously healthy layers of the skin. As the skin becomes damaged, it may pull back to expose muscles or bones. At the bottom of the wound, dead tissue will look dark or yellow in color.
The location of the bedsore will generally depend on the way the individual sits during the day. If they are in a wheelchair for most of the day, they may develop bedsores on their shoulders, tailbone, arms, legs or spine. Patients confined to a bed may develop bedsores on the back or the side of the head. Since the back is against the bed, the shoulders, hips, heels or lower back may develop a bedsore.
To prevent bedsore deaths, any signs of bedsores should immediately be reported to a doctor. Bed-confined patients should be shifted every 2 hours to relieve pressure, and wheelchair-confined patients should be shifted every 15 minutes. Bedsore death cases are completely preventable, but the patient must be moved on a regular basis. The skin should be kept clean and dry. Additionally, any signs of infection or redness should be discussed with a doctor.
Nursing homes have no excuse for allowing bedsore death cases to take place. If caught in the early stages, bedsore symptoms can be treated. Often, bedsores are more likely to occur in nursing homes that are understaffed or that offer a poor quality of care. If patients are taken care of properly, they will be moved and shifted often enough to relieve pressure. When this does not happen, life-threatening symptoms may develop. You can get help for bedsore symptoms and fatalities by consulting with a qualified attorney. Through their help, you can seek justice and financial compensation for poor nursing home treatment.