Stage 1 Bedsores
Bedsores are painful rashes or wounds caused by pressure against the skin due to limited movement. Many residents of long-term care homes, such as skilled nursing facilities or assisted living or memory care communities, may be susceptible to bedsores due to their reliance on caretakers for mobility.
Bedsores are an indication that someone isn’t receiving the care they need. If you notice bedsores on your loved ones in long-term care, it can indicate nursing home abuse or neglect.
The experienced nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti can help you pursue a claim for damages against your loved one’s caregivers and the establishment your loved one is living in.
What are bedsores?
The Mayo Clinic notes that bedsores are skin ailments which develop when parts of the body are put under pressure for prolonged periods of time. Bedsores are also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores. They are classified into four stages, with stage 1 being the mildest and stage 4 the most severe.
Older people are more vulnerable to bedsores, as their skin is delicate and they may have lost the strength needed to reposition themselves. However, bedsores are preventable injuries, and nursing staff have a responsibility to assess, implement, and reevaluate care plans to mitigate the risk of injury.
How to Identify a Stage 1 Bedsore
Stage 1 bedsores have a different appearance and texture than the surrounding skin. These sores have not broken the skin’s surface yet, and therefore are fairly mild. However, they can worsen without treatment and be painful for the areas under pressure.
Stage 1 bedsores differ from the surrounding skin in a few ways. The affected area may be:
- Harder or softer
- Warmer or cooler
- Discolored or red
If you see a spot of skin that looks unusual and has one of these characteristics on your elderly loved one, you might be looking at a bedsore. Help your loved one relieve the pressure by moving them to a different position. If the skin looks the same after being moved and doesn’t show signs of returning to normal after 30 minutes, it’s likely a bedsore.
One way to test for bedsores is to press down on the questionable area of skin. If it does not blanch (turn white with pressure) and then return to normal, it is likely a bedsore. Normal skin will blanch when pressed because it has normal blood flow; bedsores will not blanch because the damaged skin has poor circulation. People with darker skin tones may not have bedsores that are as readily visible. The blanching test may not work on people with dark skin, and the area may look purple instead of red.
Bedsores typically develop in areas where there isn’t much muscle or fat between the bones and the surface of the skin. The Mayo Clinic notes that common areas where bedsores develop include:
- Lower back, tailbone, and buttocks
- Back of the head
- Knees, elbow, and hips
- Heels, toes, and ankles
Even though stage 1 bedsores are considered mild, these sore patches are still irritating, painful, and often itchy. However, with proper treatment, stage 1 bedsores can heal easily, and the patient can avoid stage 2 bedsores.
How are stage 1 bedsores treated?
When caught early, stage 1 bedsores can be easily treated, often by identifying the cause and then eliminating it. Prolonged pressure on specific areas of the body is the most common cause of bedsores, or pressure ulcers. If an individual is on bed rest or otherwise largely immobile, they may need to shift positions periodically to reduce constant pressure on certain areas. Friction on the skin is another cause of bedsores.
Fortunately, stage 1 bedsores often go away once the pressure is relieved. Propping someone up with a medical pillow or adjustable bed may reduce the incidences of bedsores.
Alternatively, if the person is being cared for at home, you may want to invest in a type of mattress or bedding that creates less pressure on the body. Some nursing home facilities offer special devices to prevent bedsores, so ask the staff or administrator if they are available to your loved one.
It’s important to wash stage 1 bedsores with mild soap and water and pat them dry. Caregivers must implement a proper repositioning plan for the patient as well as routinely check their skin for emerging bedsores. Improved nutrition and increased fluid intake can also reduce the chances of a person developing bedsores.
It’s crucial to identify a state 1 bedsore early because it can quickly progress to stage 2 if left untreated.
How can bedsores be prevented?
All bedsores are preventable. Sometimes, a patient may arrive at the nursing home with bedsores from a hospital. The intake nurses should check new patients for bedsores and treat them right away. They should also take steps to ensure that their new patients don’t develop additional or advanced-stage bedsores.
People with the highest risk of developing bedsores include:
- Those who are bedridden or otherwise spend a lot of time in bed
- People who use a wheelchair
- Older adults
- Those with fragile skin
- People who don’t receive adequate nutrition
- Those with mobility difficulties who require help to move
- People with paralysis
- Those with Alzheimer’s Disease or another type of dementia
- People who have difficulty with bladder or bowel control
Many nursing home residents have one or more of these conditions and may not move around regularly on their own. Patients at risk for bedsores require additional help with moving around and frequent checks to ensure they aren’t putting extra pressure on parts of the body vulnerable to bedsores.
Malnutrition and dehydration are also common causes of bedsores. Many elderly people struggle to prepare healthy meals or eat enough for their needs. If your loved one resides in a nursing home or receives in-home care, caregivers should ensure that they receive proper nutrition and plenty of fluids to prevent bedsores.
Part of the regular treatment for these patients should include daily skin checks and prompt treatment of bedsores as they develop, reducing the chance that the sore will break the skin and cause further damage.
Bedsores May Be a Warning Sign of Neglect
Your loved one in nursing care should never develop bedsores because caregivers can easily prevent them by providing sufficient care. Thus, the presence of bedsores is often a clear indication of nursing home neglect or abuse.
Families trust skilled nursing facilities to care for their vulnerable loved ones. These facilities are supposed to be safe and comfortable for patients, and nurses and other workers have a duty of care for their patients. When these facilities and the employees abandon this duty of care, they may be liable for the pain and injury your loved one suffered.
How can a nursing home lawyer help me?
If you have noted bedsores on your loved one, you may have cause to file a lawsuit on their behalf against the nursing home and the people responsible for their care. A dedicated nursing home bedsore lawyer can help build your case and gather evidence of neglect.
If your loved one was abused or neglected in their nursing home, contact Levin & Perconti today to discuss your case. We have the skill and determination to advocate for you and your family, and we’ll work tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation.
against a facility located in the northern suburbs for a former nursing home resident who sustained injuries as a result of a pressure sore.
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
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