They are among the most common and most painful signs that a resident at an Atlanta nursing home is being neglected by the staff. Bedsores are more than painful wounds. In severe cases, they become infected and threaten the patient’s life.
What is a bedsore?
Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores happen when someone lies or sits in the same position for too long. Many nursing home residents and reposition themselves in their beds or wheelchairs. They rely on staff to turn them regularly. But when the facility is short-staffed or hires staff members who do not perform their job duties, the skin on the resident’s buttocks, heels, shoulder blades, back of their head or back of their knees can experience hours of pressure.
Eventually, the loss of blood supply to the area causes the skin to begin to die. This means a bedsore is forming.
Four stages of bedsores
Doctors recognize four stages of bedsore severity:
- Stage One: The affected area is red, blue or purple, feels warm to the touch, and the patient feels pain, burning, or itching.
- Stage Two: The area may have an open sore, blister or scrape, with discoloration around the wound and significant pain for the patient.
- Stage Three: The damage reaches deeper into the skin, making the ulcer look like a crater.
- Stage Four: The wound is large, deep and severe, potentially including damage to muscle, tendon, bones and/or joints. Infection is now a significant risk.
In most cases, caregivers to people with limited mobility can prevent bedsores by repositioning their bodies regularly, taking care of their skin, and providing them nutritious food. When a long-term care facility fails to provide for these basic needs, their residents can develop bedsores and suffer tremendous pain.