Category : Healing Bed Sores

Steps for Healing Bedsores

A bedsore (also referred to as a decubitus ulcer, pressure ulcer or pressure sore) is a serious injury to skin and tissue caused by prolonged pressure. Typically, a bedsore will develop over a bony prominence on the body like the hipbones, ankles, heels, elbows, tailbone, shoulder blades and the back of the head. Healing pressure sores is nearly always guaranteed in its early stages, and extremely challenging to heal in the late stages.

Individuals most susceptible to developing a bedsore are those suffering underlying medical conditions limiting their capacity to change position without assistance. This often includes those confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended time.

Pressure sores develop quickly, often times within hours, when an individual incapable of self-propelled movement remains in an idle position. Wound care is especially important for healing bedsores once the signs and symptoms are present.

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel categorizes bedsores into four specific stages, determined by severity. Taking preventative steps tends to be the easiest solution for avoiding the problem altogether. Treatment of the decubitus ulcer will be based on each specific stage. However, basic contributing factors for all pressure sores include one or more of the following:

• Impaired mobility
• Malnutrition and dehydration
• Impaired sensation to the area
• Minor or major infection
• Steroid use
• Advanced age

Critical Wound Care

General guidelines for critical wound care include assessing the severity of the wound and apply the appropriate treatment. These general guidelines include determining the stage of the pressure ulcer as follows:

Stage I

The initial stage of a developing bedsore usually presents specific characteristics that include:

• The skin remains intact
• The skin and underlying tissue appears pink or reddish on individuals with lighter skin tones, when the skin does not blanch or lighten briefly when touched
• The skin of darker skin individuals might show discoloration with no blanching when touched
• The damage site is often cool or warm, soft, firm, painful or tender compared to all surrounding skin

Stage II

The secondary stage of a developing decubitus ulcer will usually present unique characteristics including:

• The skin’s epidermis (outer layer) and a portion of the dermis layer (underlying skin) is lost or damaged
• The sore is often shallow with the red or pink hue
• The sore might appear as a ruptured or fluid filled blister

Stage III

At this stage, the ulcer appears as a significantly deep wound and has additional characteristics including:

• Dramatic skin loss exposing some fat
• A crater-like appearance
• Yellowish necrotic (dead) tissue appearing at the bottom of the sore
• The damaged area might extend below the wound under healthy skin

Stage IV

At this stage, the ulcer will have major loss of skin and underlying tissue. Its main characteristics include:

• The sore might expose muscles, tendons or bone
• The bottom of the ulcer will usually be filled with necrotic tissue, appearing crusty, dark or yellowish
• The damaged area extends well below the initial ulcer under healthy skin

A comprehensive and thorough assessment will determine the necessary steps for medical management of a pressure ulcer. The steps for healing bedsores in general include:

• Reduce the amount of pressure at that specific point
• Control any infection or bacterial contamination with drainage and medication
• Provide adequate debridement to remove the vitalized and necrotic tissue
• Management of fecal or urinary incontinence when required to diminish moisture contact with the skin
• Implement and maintain meticulous wound care to the area using specific dressings designed for advanced stages

Wound management often includes using cleansing agents, antimicrobials and dressings. Medical devices can help support surfaces and assist in repositioning.

When Neglect Is Involved

It is a well-established fact in medical communities that most pressure sores are preventable. In many incidences, neglect is a leading factor in developing bedsores in patients residing at home, in a group home, hospital, assistant living facility or nursing home. Negligence is often involved when a pressure ulcer is not properly diagnosed in the early stages, or not properly treated, allowing it to progress into stage III or stage IV.

If you, or a loved one, have suffered a serious pressure ulcer requiring extensive wound care caused by the negligence of another, you likely have the legal right to pursue financial recompense from the responsible parties.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 can take legal steps to stop the neglect immediately, and hold those accountable for their careless action. The reputable attorneys experienced in Illinois elder law offer a free initial consultation to discuss the case and provide a variety of legal options for financial compensation.

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How do medical facilities assess healing bed sores?

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