A pressure sore (also commonly referred to as a “pressure ulcer”, “bedsore”, “decubitus ulcer”, or “dermal ulcer”) is by-and-large preventable if appropriate measures are taken by the health care provider. Tragically, too many victims who are vulnerable to the development of pressure sores are not capable of complaining of the discomfort or pain they are enduring, or of taking measures of their own to eliminate the factors leading to the development of the pressure sores. Unless health care providers are held accountable for this form of silent neglect, it is difficult to see how the disturbing rate of preventable pressure sores, especially in the elderly, will ever be eliminated.
A pressure sore is defined as a localized area of tissue injury that develops when soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and an external surface for a prolonged period of time. The external surface may be a mattress, a chair or wheelchair, or even other parts of the body. The use of the term “bed sore” is somewhat misleading, because some of the most severe pressure sores can also result from sitting for a prolonged period of time.
In some cases, the sore may involve the death and decay of tissue, known as “gangrene.” Once the tissue dies, bacteria may infect the tissue causing decay.
The location of the pressure sores can depend upon the position of the patient. For individuals who are bed-bound, pressure sores are most likely to form on or around the heels, the hip-bone, and the lower back or tailbone. Pressure ulcers may also develop in a variety of other areas, including the spine, ankles, knees shoulders, and head, depending upon the position of the patient. The failure of a nursing home to develop and implement a care plan to address a patient’s risk for skin breakdown too often results in the development of bed sores or pressure ulcers which would otherwise have been preventable.
Pressure sores can be a very serious problem, leading to significant pain, extended hospital or nursing home stays, and prolonged recovery periods from other health problems.
A bed sore may show inflammation, redness, and infection. Second, the body’s response to the infection often results in fever, shaking chills, changes in mental status, and/or rapid respiratory rate. Finally, the body will show signs of shock resulting from the sepsis, including hypotension, lactic academia, and progressive organ system dysfunction.
If you have questions or suspect possible neglect, contact us for a free consultation. Just call us at 887.769.5377, submit a request for a free consultation by clicking here. Our firm handles pressure sore cases across Indiana.