Prolonged pressure on the skin can cut off blood flow and lead to a type of ulcer called a bedsore, which is not only painful but carries the risk of infection and other long-term complications. Older adults with limited mobility are especially susceptible to these injuries, particularly when they are not regularly moved by those entrusted with their care. If you have a loved one living in an assisted living facility, you should familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of these debilitating injuries, as they can be considered a form of nursing home abuse.
What Is a Bedsore?
A bedsore is a wound that forms on the body when sustained pressure or friction prevents blood from reaching an area of skin, causing skin cell death. Typically, bedsores appear as purple or red marks on the skin’s surface when they first develop. If a bedsore goes untreated, it can cause the skin to break, leading to an open wound. Severe bedsores burrow deep into all skin layers and expose the bones, increasing the risk of life-threatening infections.
“Bedsores can be a grave threat to our elderly clients in nursing homes,” explains Hach & Rose, LLP partner John Blyth. “These painful and potentially life-threatening pressure wounds are often a result of neglect, inadequate care, and prolonged immobility. They can lead to serious infections, sepsis, and even death if not promptly addressed. It’s crucial to hold nursing homes accountable for ensuring proper prevention and treatment to protect the well-being of their vulnerable residents.”
Classifications of Bedsores
Bedsores are classified in increasing order of severity as follows:
- Stage 1 – The skin is still intact, making this the easiest bedsore to treat. These bedsores are often red in appearance and might feel warm, painful, firm, and tender to the touch.
- Stage 2 – A stage 2 bedsore pierces the outer skin layer, the epidermis, and extends into the second layer of skin beneath, the dermis. A pinkish or red shallow wound can form on the skin that looks like a blister that has burst.
- Stage 3 – Stage 3 bedsores are deep, subcutaneous wounds that might resemble a crater with a yellow-colored base. Fatty tissue can be exposed, and the damage can spread to nearby areas of normal skin.
- Stage 4 – A stage 4 bedsore is the most severe. Significant tissue death can expose the bones, tendons, and muscles beneath the affected skin area. The base of the wound contains dead tissue that looks dark and crusty.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Bedsores
Bedsore symptoms are initially mild but gradually worsen as the wound grows deeper and pierces the bottom skin layer. At first, bedsores only affect the outer layer of the skin and don’t create an open wound. The skin appears discolored and might be painful when touched or rubbed against clothing. The affected area can also feel colder or hotter than normal skin.
An open wound can start to form without prompt and adequate treatment. Blood and pus might begin to leak from the bedsore, and the skin can turn black as the tissue dies. Severe bedsores may expose the body’s bones, tendons, and other internal tissue, increasing the risk of infection and sepsis.
Demand the Compensation Your Loved One Deserves
Bedsores are a common sign of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you have a loved one in a care facility and you notice the telltale symptoms of bedsores, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Your family could be owed compensation, and John Blyth and the rest of the team with Hach & Rose, LLP can help you pursue it – just as we have for others who’ve found themselves in similarly tragic positions.
“As an attorney, some of the most gratifying moments in my career have been representing our elderly clients who had endured the agony of bedsores due to the negligence of a nursing home,” John says. “These cases are personal for me, as my own loved ones had once been residents in similar facilities. Through meticulous legal work and a deep sense of compassion, I fight relentlessly for my elderly clients’ rights and dignity. Being able to obtain the justice these clients deserve, and knowing that my efforts made a positive impact on their lives, continues to reaffirm my dedication to advocating for the rights of the elderly and ensuring they are protected from neglect and mistreatment.”
To speak with John or another committed nursing home abuse lawyer with Hach & Rose, LLP, give us a call today at (212) 779-0057. We want to help you demand the justice and accountability your loved one deserves.