Elderly people get bedsores from extended and repeated pressure or friction on specific areas of their bodies. There are varying stages of bedsores, and when left unnoticed or untreated, it may result in the tissue death of the afflicted area.
Several factors may increase your loved one’s potential for developing bedsores. However, the nursing home medical staff must actively treat and prevent them.
When elderly people get bedsores, it may be due to nursing home abuse or neglect. Speaking with a nursing home injury lawyer can help you understand the next steps to take.
Bedsores and Commonly Associated Symptoms
Sometimes referred to as pressure sores, bedsores are a skin injury due to prolonged exposure to pressure or friction. Typical locations of bedsores include the tailbone, heels, hips, and ankles. Symptoms and warning signs of bedsores include:
- Changes in the skin’s texture or color
- Pus draining
- Skin temperature changes
There are varying degrees in the progression of bedsores of which you should be aware. Our nursing home injury lawyers describe the four stages of bedsore pressure injuries below:
Stage One: This stage is the least threatening since open wounds are not present. The sensation is generally painful to the touch, and discoloration is present. Your family member’s skin may feel warmer or cooler than normal.
Stage Two: In stage two, the skin breaks. Typically, an open wound forms and the body feels intensified pain. It can tear and deeply penetrate the tissue. The appearance looks like a blister. At this stage, the skin is at risk for permanent disfigurement or necrosis.
Stage Three: As bedsore progresses, stage three presents as a much deeper open wound. A small crater may form that exposes fatty tissue.
Stage Four: This stage of a bedsore is where the most extensive damage occurs. The skin crater extends beyond fatty tissue and may expose bone, tendons, and muscles. Most people at this stage do not feel any pain since there is significant nerve damage.
Activities That Cause Elderly People to Get Bedsores
Elderly people can get bedsores due to extended pressure and friction to the affected body part. Medical care providers typically break causes into the following two categories:
- Sustained pressure: This is caused by sitting or lying in the same position for a long period of time.
- Friction: If a body part is moved along a surface during certain activities, the friction can lead to bedsore over time.
Other elements affect your loved one’s susceptibility to bedsores. The body of an elderly person is extra sensitive to pressure and friction due to the thinning of the skin and other tissues. The following variables can reduce the skin’s integrity:
- Mobility issues
- Nerve damage
- Cigarette smoking
- Circulation issues
Nursing homes assess a resident’s susceptibility to bedsores using the Braden Scale. It is an evidence-based tool that assigns a bedsore risk score to a person and prescribes care based on that number and continued monitoring.
Bedsores May Cause Other Health Complications
The damage caused by bedsores does not limit itself to the skin. Nursing homes must protect vulnerable people from contracting them for so many reasons, including an increased risk for other medical complications.
Without adequate care and monitoring, when elderly people get bedsores it can cause:
- Joint infections
These conditions not only cause significant injury, but they can also result in death. Bedsores are serious. The nursing home staff has a medical duty of care to reasonably prevent them, as well as provide follow-up care if they form.
What to Do If You Think Abuse or Neglect Caused Your Loved One’s Bedsores
Concerned family members are right to question the cause of their loved one’s bedsores. While it is important to remember that they shouldn’t happen in the first place, nursing homes have a high rate of occurrence.
Here are some actions family members can take to handle the situation further:
- Interview the medical and nursing home staff about the injury
- Ask your loved one about their treatment
- Report acts of violence or negligence to law enforcement or state agencies
- Contact a nursing home injury lawyer
If you discover that abuse or negligence played a role, you have the opportunity to file a claim or lawsuit for compensation. Your state has specific deadlines by which you can file a claim, which means that you should contact a nursing home injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm About Bedsore Injuries
You do not have to stand by while your loved one suffers at the hands of a negligent or abusive nursing home environment. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we represent families of nursing home injury victims at every point in the claims process. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only collect our fee if you secure compensation. There is no upfront cost to you.