Pressure sores (bedsores, pressure ulcers, pressure wounds, or decubitus ulcers) are a significant health concern, particularly for individuals with limited mobility or those confined to bed for extended periods.
Pressure ulcers and the stages of bedsores occur when prolonged pressure on the skin restricts blood flow, leading to tissue damage and painful ulcers.
Did your loved one develop a facility-acquired pressure ulcer due to negligence?
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC represent nursing home residents who developed preventable bed sores.
What are Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin.
They are particularly prevalent in specific groups, including the following:
- Bedridden individuals
- Those using a wheelchair
- Those who cannot change positions without assistance
Pressure sores predominantly develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone.
The severity of pressure sores can vary significantly, ranging from superficial skin changes to deep wounds involving muscle and bone.
The depth and severity of these sores are categorized into four stages, with Stage 1 being the mildest and Stage 4 being the most severe.
There are also two additional categories:
- Unstageable pressure ulcers
- Suspected deep tissue injury
Causes and Risk Factors of the Stages of Bedsores
Pressure ulcers occur  by sustained pressure on specific body parts, particularly bony areas with minimal fat tissue, like:
- Hip bones
- Shoulder blades
The high risk of developing a pressure injury develops in individuals with limited mobility, such as those confined to a bed or wheelchair.
Other risk factors include the following:
- Age, where older individuals are more susceptible due to their skin becoming thinner and more fragile
- Conditions that affect blood flow, such as diabetes and vascular diseases, can increase the risk
- Nutritional deficiencies
The Four Stages of Pressure Sores
Understanding the different stages of pressure wounds is crucial for effective treatment and management.
Each stage represents the severity of the sore, with the depth of the wound increasing with each stage.
Stage 1 Pressure Sores
Stage 1 pressure wounds are the mildest form.
At this stage, the skin remains intact but may appear red.
The affected area may appear blue or purple in individuals with darker skin.
The area may feel different from the surrounding skin, being firmer or softer and warmer or cooler.
Other common symptoms include pain, burning, or itching.
The primary treatment for Stage 1 pressure wounds involves relieving pressure on the affected area, maintaining skin hygiene, and promoting good nutrition.
Stage 1 pressure wounds can heal within a few days with appropriate care.
Stage 2 Pressure Sores
In Stage 2, the pressure sore extends through the top layer of the skin and into the layer beneath, creating an open wound or blister.
The area around the sore may be red and swollen, and the sore may ooze clear fluid or pus.
Treatment involves similar measures to Stage 1, with specialized wound dressings to keep the area clean and dry.
Open wound healing of Stage 2 pressure wounds typically takes a few weeks with appropriate care.
Stage 3 Pressure Ulcers
Stage 3 pressure wounds extend through layers of the skin and into the underlying fat tissue.
The sore may resemble a crater and may have a foul smell.
Dead tissue may be present in the wound, appearing as black areas.
There might be signs of infection at the Stage 3 level.
Recovery from Stage 3 pressure wounds can take several months.
Stage 4 Pressure Ulcers
Stage 4 pressure wounds are the most severe, extending beyond skin and fat layers into deeper tissues, potentially affecting muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone.
The sore is often large and deep, with significant necrotic tissue.
Immediate medical attention is required, and treatment often involves surgery.
Recovery ulcers at a Stage 4 level could take several months to years.
Unstageable Pressure Sores
Unstageable pressure wounds are those where the depth cannot be determined due to the presence of necrotic tissue.
If there are any signs of infection, the progression of the bed sore or suspected deep tissue injury might not be identifiable.
Once the wound is cleaned and the necrotic tissue removed, the true depth and, therefore, the stage of the pressure sore can be determined.
Primary Prevention and Treatment
Preventing pressure wounds , like removing pressure, is always preferable to treating them.
Crucial measures to preventing pressure ulcers include:
- Regular repositioning
- Use of pressure-relieving devices
- Good skincare
- Adequate nutrition
Pressure Ulcer Prevention
Prevention strategies include regular repositioning to relieve pressure, particularly for bedridden individuals or using a wheelchair.
Using special mattresses or cushions can also help distribute pressure more evenly.
Good skin care is essential, as is maintaining a healthy diet to ensure skin health.
Treating Pressure Sores and Dead Tissue
Treatment of pressure wounds depends on the stage of the sore such as:
- Relieving pressure
- Cleaning the wound
- Removing necrotic tissue
- Applying dressings
- Using topical antibiotics
In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.
Throughout treatment, managing pain effectively and monitoring for signs of infection is vital.
Legal Rights and Support
When pressure ulcers or bedsores occur due to negligence or lack of proper care, it’s essential to understand that victims and their families have legal rights.
These rights can provide avenues for compensation and justice, particularly in cases where severe bedsores or unstageable pressure ulcers have developed due to neglect or inadequate medical treatment.
Understanding Your Legal Rights
Decubitus ulcers are often preventable with appropriate care and attention.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a pressure injury, it’s important to understand your legal rights.
In many jurisdictions, victims of neglect leading to bedsore formation have the right to seek compensation for their injuries.
Seeking Legal Help
If you or a loved one has suffered from a bed sore, mainly if left untreated or has led to extensive tissue damage, seeking legal help is crucial.
Nursing home abuse lawyers can help doctors determine the extent of the neglect and the impact of the pressure sore on the victim’s health and quality of life.
Support and Resources
Dealing with the aftermath of a bed sore can be physically and emotionally challenging.
This can include medical professionals, such as family physicians, who can advise on treating pressure sores and promote healing.
Educational resources can provide information on pressure ulcer prevention, helping to prevent further injuries.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer in a Decubitus Ulcer Case
Are you the victim of neglect leading to a sore?
Was your loved one injured due to inadequate care?
A personal injury lawyer can provide the legal support and guidance you need during this difficult time.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in cases involving pressure wounds.
Our legal team can help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and build a strong case.
Here are some ways a personal injury lawyer can assist:
- Evaluate your case: A lawyer can review the details of your case and provide an honest assessment of its merits and potential outcomes.
- Gather evidence: This can include medical records, expert opinions, and witness statements.
- Negotiate with the opposing party: Many personal injury cases are resolved through negotiation rather than court trials. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to seek a fair settlement.
Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay us if we win your case.
Contact our lawyers for legal help if you or a loved one has suffered from a pressure sore due to neglect or inadequate care.
Call us at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation.