Bed Sores/Pressure Sores

"Bed Sores" or "pressures sores" are common terms for decubitus ulcers. Bed sores are one of the most common injuries to elderly patients in nursing homes. If a patient enters a nursing home without a bed sore and develops one, it is an indication of nursing home neglect and the patient is not being properly cared for. Bed sores are caused by unrelieved pressure to one part of the body, especially over bony or cartilaginous areas. Bed sores occur when the patient is not repositioned correctly and indicate that there is lacking of the proper standard of care. While bed sores are completely treatable in early stages, without medical attention, they can result in severe infection that can enter the bone and bloodstream and cause death.

There are four stages of bed sores:

  • Stage I - redness or soreness to an area of the body, especially the back, shoulders, hips, buttocks and ankles. The skin can feel hotter or cooler and appear a different shade of color than the rest of the skin.
  • Stage II - damage to the skin - epidermis - and appears as a rash or a blister.
  • Stage III - the full thickness of skin is involved and the lesion penetrates into the subcutaneous tissue layer. At this point, the skin has a poor blood supply and the patient has a difficult time healing. The wound may appear small, but often the damage is much larger than it appears.
  • Stage IV - the wound extends into the muscle, tendon and even the bone.

Only 62% of bed sores that reach a Stage IV ever heal and in 50% of those cases, healing can take one year or more.

Every nursing home should have a program to avoid a bed sore in bedridden patients which includes turning the patient often, keeping dry clean linens on the patient's bed and using cushions which feature pressure relief components.

If one of your loved ones has suffered a serious infection or death due to a bed sore while residing at a nursing home, you may have a claim against the nursing home for neglect or abuse. Contact The Farber Law Group, a law firm with more than 30 years experience in representing clients who have suffered severe personal injury.