According to the Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality, more than 2.5 million people in the United States develop bedsores yearly. For caregivers, home health aides, and registered nurses alike, this statistic is somewhat daunting. It becomes even more galling when we take into account that, according to the National Institutes of Health, 95% of all pressure ulcers are preventable. For this, an elder law attorney may be able to assist with these matters.
It is through these two data points that we are faced with an affliction that is both massive and preventable. For caregivers, it becomes imperative to familiarize themselves with the cause, stages, and signs of bedsores.Our senior care friends have provided some invaluable information to help with your aging loved ones’ care.
What causes bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is in the same position for an extended period of time. When staying in one place, without moving the body, the skin that is in contact with the surface begins to lose blood flow. This stoppage can cause the pressure points to become deprived of oxygen and infected. It is through this infection that we witness the common bedsore.
What are the stages of bedsores?
When a body begins developing pressure ulcers there are four distinct phases that it goes through. These stages are agitation, formation, mild infection, and severe damage.
Phase 1: Agitation
This is the beginning phase of the sore. The affected area will look agitated, and potentially feel a temperature difference when touched. The bedridden patient may feel a burning or itching sensation where the wound is.
Phase 2: Formation
As the wound develops, the patient will experience higher agitation and pain. The sore can seem to spread in a discolored hue that surrounds the wound. The wound will develop to the point that it may blister, pustulate, or open.
Phase 3: Mild Infection
This is the stage in which the patient is exposed to infection. In this phase, the sore has delved beneath the skin’s second layer (the dermis) and reaches towards the fatty tissue that lies underneath. As the sore proliferates it can be viewed on the patient with a crater-like appearance below the skin’s surface.
Stage: 4: Severe Damage
If a phase three infection is not treated, and the wound is left to fester, the patient will experience severe damage. A large wound will become prominent with massive discoloration present. The infection has delved beyond the fatty tissue and has made contact with ligaments, muscles, or bone.