If an elderly resident in a nursing home or the nursing home staff discovers a bedsore in the early stages, they can resolve it quickly with minimal treatments. However, if bedsores are not detected or treated in a reasonable period of time, they can develop into serious and life-threatening conditions or cause death. Bedsores are easily treatable in the first stages of the medical condition. If your elderly loved one is a resident in a nursing home, you should always ensure that their health is a priority and they are being monitored for bedsores on a regular basis.
Bedsores are also known as pressure sores and pressure ulcers. Bedsores occur when a person sits or lies in one position for too long causing pressure against the skin. Elderly residents of nursing homes are particularly susceptible to bedsores, as they have thinner skin and are often limited to wheelchairs or beds.
Bedsores occur due to constant pressure and friction when the skin rubs against bedding, clothing, or shear, causing friction (which is when two surfaces move in opposing directions). Any of these instances can cause the thin skin of elderly residents to develop into bedsores.
The prevention of bedsores helps ensure that these sores or pressure ulcers never result in any long or difficult treatments. If found early in either Stage 1 or Stage 2, bedsores can be easily treated and will heal within a short period of time. In these stages, the bedsores usually present themselves as discolored skin or some smaller wounds. Again, in these early stages, bedsores are entirely treatable and can go away in a few days or weeks. Nursing home residents should receive proper attention to ensure repositioning occurs on a timely basis, and that skin inspections occur daily to ensure the prevention of more serious bedsores developing. If nursing homes fail to provide this care, and don’t provide proper treatment, bedsores can result in life-threatening medical conditions or death.
Advanced Stages of Bedsore
Stage 3 and Stage 4 of bedsores occur when a person has pressure on the following areas:
- Shoulder blades.
- Backs of arms or legs.
- Lower back.
- Skin behind the knees.
- Other areas where their body would rest on a wheelchair or in bed.
In these advanced stages, bedsores will include missing layers of skin, permanent damage of surrounding tissue, injury to the bone, tissue, tendons, and joints, and may develop infections. Several different side effects of bedsores can result in life-threatening medical conditions or death.
Serious Side Effects of Bedsores
Bedsores can result in serious infections and injuries to the skin and underlying tissue. While bedsores themselves can become infected and cause permanent damage to bone, tendons, joints, and tissues, other even more serious side effects can occur as well.
- Cancer. In extreme cases, bedsores can lead to squamous cell carcinoma. This type of skin cancer requires surgery and can prove life-threatening. In many cases, the bedsore was in an extreme state and left unattended, and years later the lesion turned into Marjolin’s ulcer, which is the malignant (serious and potentially deadly) transformation of a chronic bedsore.
- Cellulitis. Cellulitis is the inflammation of connective tissues. When tissues become damaged and infected due to untreated bedsores, cellulitis can occur. Cellulitis may result in sepsis in certain elderly residents.
- Sepsis. Sepsis is a bacterial infection of either bodily tissues or the bloodstream. If an elderly patient develops sepsis from a bedsore, this may result in death.
It is important to note that these side effects remain preventable if an elderly resident of a nursing home receives proper attention and care.
Bedsores Are Easily Treatable in Early Stages
In the early stages, bedsores are extremely treatable and will resolve rather quickly. If your elderly loved one is in a nursing home and developed any side effects of bedsores, you may have a case for negligence or medical malpractice. Nursing homes have a duty and obligation to ensure that their elderly residents receive continuous monitoring daily for the occurrence or presence of bedsores. Nursing home facilities must have assessments regarding each of their residents in place that will determine how often a resident needs repositioning either in a wheelchair or their bed. If the nursing home staff fails to reposition an elderly resident or monitor them every day for bedsores, the result can be catastrophic.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered any side effects or serious complications as a result of a bedsore while they were a resident in a nursing home, it is likely that their injuries were due to the nursing home’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.