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What Are the Causes and Dangers of Bedsores?

elderly man laying in a hospital bed

Why Bedsores Can Cause Significant Health Issues

Have you started to notice bruising on your loved one at their nursing home? Does this person have limited mobility? Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are a common sign of nursing home abuse and neglect. Knowing the causes of these injuries, the risk factors, and potential complications can help you look for any warning signs that may arise at your loved one’s facility.

Bedsores are essentially defined as the deterioration of the skin and underlying tissue due to continual pressure. Such pressure restricts blood flow to a specific area of the body and causes the tissue to break down. These injuries are especially common in nursing home residents who may have limited mobility.

Three Common Causes of Bedsores

The most commonly affected areas are bony areas of the body, including the buttocks, back, elbows, hips, tailbone, ankles, shoulder blades, spine, and back of the head. According to the Mayo Clinic, the three general causes of bedsores are:

  • Pressure. As mentioned above, the lack of adequate blood flow to the parts of the body with continuous pressure can cause these areas to be delivered less oxygen and nutrients, causing the tissue to eventually break down and die.
  • Friction. Friction pressure ulcers occur when the skin rubs against clothing or bedding repeatedly. This typically affects skin that is already weak, especially if the skin is moist.
  • Shear. Shear pressure ulcers occur when two surfaces move in the opposite direction, such as when the body moves and the skin stays in place.

Levels of Severity and Potential Complications

Bedsores fall into four categories, based on the severity of the depth of the injury. The four stages of these injuries are:

  • Stage I. Visible redness of the skin that won’t go away, even when the pressure is removed, and burning, itching, or aching sensations.
  • Stage II. Visibly more damaged and discolored wound with a potentially open wound, scrape, or blister that causes pain.
  • Stage III. Loss of skin thickness and a crater-like appearance due to damaged skin and exposed tissue.
  • Stage IV. The area is severely damaged with a large, deep wound that may show exposed muscle, bone, and tendons that increases the risk of severe infections.

While earlier stages of bedsores may be considered minor and can heal in just a few short days with proper medical treatment, others can lead to life-threatening complications. Some of the dangers of bedsores include:

  • Cellulitis
  • Bone and joint infections
  • Cancer
  • Sepsis
  • Death

Bedsores Due to Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

No one deserves to suffer at the hands of those who they trusted to take care of them. If your elderly family member developed bed sores as the result of negligent care or abuse, turn to the skilled nursing home abuse attorneys at Turner Law Group.

Contact our team at (800) 653-0198 to get started with a free, no-obligation case review.