If your elderly loved one lives as a resident in a nursing home and suffers from bedsores (also referred to as pressure sores and pressure ulcers), you may suspect nursing home abuse or neglect since bedsores take some time to develop. Nursing home facilities have the responsibility and duty to care for their elderly residents and ensure that they do not develop bedsores. If your elderly loved one suffers from bedsores, here is a brief guide regarding how to treat bedsores.
Treatment of Bedsores by Stage
There are four stages of bedsores from minor to life-threatening. Each stage has its own specific set of treatments available. The following is a brief overview of how to treat bedsores and the types of treatments each stage may receive.
Stage One Treatment
This is the first stage of a bedsore, and bedsores are easiest to treat at this stage. In Stage One, the skin is typically not broken yet but will appear discolored. In many cases where the body pressure resulted in a bedsore, the skin will show the difference in thickness, temperature, roughness, or color (typically light red). One way to test a bedsore at this stage is to push on and near the area and see if it stays red. If the area stays a reddish color and does not change to white or lighten in any way, then this is likely the beginning stages of a bedsore.
At Stage One, the best treatment is to remove all pressure from the area. Keep the area completely clean and dry. Make sure that your elderly loved one eats enough healthy food to ensure that their body is receiving adequate nutrients, which assists in the healing of skin and tissue. Additionally, make sure the elderly resident drinks enough water and stays hydrated so that the skin and tissue are not dehydrated. The area of the bedsore should receive frequent inspection and if the redness of the bedsore does not resolve within two or three days, you should contact a medical professional. Typically, bedsores at this stage should heal within three or four days. Again, the staff at a nursing home facility knows how to treat bedsores so if you notice that your loved one has developed bedsores, they are a sign of neglect.
Stage Two Treatment
At this stage, the site of the bedsore appears broken and open as the outermost layer of skin (epidermis) is now ripped which resulted in an open sore that is shallow. In some cases, the next layer of skin (dermis) also rips open at this stage. Drainage of fluid or pus may appear visible or may leak.
During Stage Two, nursing home residents should receive all the treatments outlined in Stage One, as well as removing absolutely all pressure from the area. This stage is more serious, and a physician or health care provider should inspect the wound and determine the next steps. In some cases, simple prevention and attention can result in complete resolution of bedsores. In other cases, mild infection occurred and a doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Stage Three Treatment
At this stage, the bedsore wound extends past the initial layers of skin down into the fatty subcutaneous tissue well below the upper skin tissue. At this stage, bone, tendons, and muscles are not visible yet, but the area may show signs of infection. Symptoms such as odor, pus, redness around the edge of the wound, greenish colored drainage, or necrosis (dead, black tissue) could signal a serious infection.
In this stage, the wound should have absolutely no pressure on it whatsoever. Additionally, a doctor or physician should inspect and examine the bedsore immediately. In many cases, special wound care will need to occur along with a course of antibiotics for any infections. At this stage, an elderly nursing home resident may qualify for a special pressure-relieving mattress that will lessen the risk of bedsores in the future. Bedsores at this stage are very serious and can take from one to four months to completely heal under a doctor’s care.
Stage Four Treatment
At this final and very serious stage, a bedsore wound will extend into the muscle, and perhaps even as far as the bone. A great deal of dead tissue and drainage exist and in most cases, the wound will suffer from an infection.
At this stage, your elderly loved one should seek immediate medical attention. Oftentimes, a doctor will indicate that the wound requires surgery. The healing time for this stage of a bedsore can be anywhere from three months to two years. In some cases, the wounds never completely heal or have additional medical complications including certain types of cancer, cellulitis, or sepsis.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer’s Office Today
If your elderly loved one suffered from a bedsore while they were a resident in a nursing home, it is likely that their injuries were due to the facility’s abuse or neglect. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you begin the process to receive compensation for your elderly loved one’s injuries.