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How Long Does It Take to Get Bedsores?

A study published in a 2018 issue of BMC Geriatrics notes that older patients suffer from diseases and disabilities that cause them to be immobile for prolonged periods in hospitals and nursing homes, where they are at risk of developing bedsores. The length of time it takes for a person to develop bedsores depends on the patient’s specific circumstances.

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Bedsore Development

Bedsores, also called pressure sores, are caused by pressure and restricted blood flow to an area of the body.

A person confined to a wheelchair or a bed for a long period of time is at risk of developing pressure ulcers because the consistent pressure on certain areas of the body restricts the blood supply and causes damage to underlying tissue.

Restricted Blood Flow
If the pressure is not restricting blood flow, the chances of developing a pressure sore are reduced. In other words, the pressure must be great enough to restrict blood circulation. Special mattresses, bedding, pads, pillows, and other similar supports are available to relieve some of the pressure, especially on the bony areas of the body, which are more susceptible to bedsores.

Lack of Body Repositioning
Healthy individuals are constantly shifting their body weight and position, even when sleeping. This repositioning alleviates the pressure on areas of the body that are in direct contact with a bed, chair or another surface when a person is sitting or lying down.

Unfortunately, there are many who cannot reposition themselves due to age, infirmity, and disease. That’s where the caregiver comes in. Hospital and nursing home staff are responsible for adjusting their patients’ bodies to avoid bedsores.

Bedsores tend to develop in the bony areas of the body, including the tailbone, shoulder blades, ears, and hips, so caregivers must take special care to constantly relieve the pressure on these areas.

Typical Bedsore Progression

There are four major stages in the progression of most of these pressure ulcers. The time it takes to proceed through each stage depends on a variety of factors. The early stages of bedsores can begin in as little as a few hours. In some instances, bedsores can reach advanced stages in that same amount of time.

Stage 1
Symptoms of a pressure wound can be visible in less than half a day. The area of skin is reddened, and when pressed, it does not blanch. If the person has darker skin, you may notice that the affected skin is a different color than the skin surrounding it. Sometimes however, it takes several days for symptoms of a pressure ulcer to appear.

Stage 2
An open sore is the main symptom of this early stage of the wound. Caregiver intervention is urgently needed to prevent the sore or blister from progressing.

Stage 3
By the time the pressure sore progresses to this stage, significant damage to healthy skin has occurred. The wound has progressed below the skin, and heavy tissue damage may deaden nerves. Bedsores at this stage look like sunken craters.

It is at this stage that bedsores become a life-threatening condition. Signs of infection may appear. When they do, the chances of sepsis increase rapidly.

Stage 4
The sore has caused extensive damage at stage 4. Necrosis is present in much of the affected soft tissues, and signs of infection are likely present or will soon manifest. Immediate medical care is often essential to prevent death. The wound is so deep below the subcutaneous level that tendons, muscle, and bone may be involved.

What is the recovery time for bedsores?

In most cases, medical treatment can reverse the course of pressure sores. Sometimes, however, the damage is so extensive that the wound will never fully heal. Lack of medical treatment is often due to negligence on the part of caregivers.

Broadly speaking, recovery time from these types of pressure injuries can be anywhere from a couple of days or weeks to a few years or longer. If caught early enough by a competent medical professional, the recovery time will likely be shorter compared to the treatment time of long-neglected wounds.

Compensation for Bedsores

In many instances, you can file a personal injury claim if you or a loved one has developed bedsores in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility. You may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one has died as a result of bedsores.

Caregivers Had a Duty of Care
Someone must be officially in charge of the person’s care and have the duty of preventing bedsores. If you or a loved one are in a nursing home or a hospital, the institution has the duty of care.

Violated Duty
The caregiver must have violated their duty in some way in order for you to bring a lawsuit. If a certain staff member was responsible for helping a patient change position every three hours but did so only every eight hours, it can be easily argued that the worker violated their duty to the patient.

Caused Damage
An attorney will evaluate medical records and other evidence to determine the cause of the injury.

Patients who have developed pressure sores and significant injury related to their wounds should consult with an experienced nursing home bedsore attorney. Consultations are free and are an important step toward obtaining compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and loss of income.

If bedsores caused the death of your loved one, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against their caretaker. To learn more, reach out to the team at Levin & Perconti for a free consultation.

$1.4 million


against a facility located in the northern suburbs for a former nursing home resident who sustained injuries as a result of a pressure sore.

$2.8 million


record nursing home pressure sore settlement against a suburban Hillside nursing home and physician for a 59-year-old resident who developed multiple painful and infected bedsores which took four years to heal

$2.3 million


for the family of an 88-year-old assisted living facility resident who developed severe and infected bed sores which ultimately brought about her death. Her doctor was criminally indicted for his conduct and charged with involuntary homicide