Bed Sores (aka Pressure Sores)
Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, and are areas of damaged skin and tissue which develop from sustained pressure – usually from lying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair – which cuts off circulation to parts of the body. Bed sores are completely preventable. Essentially, when caregivers fail to take steps to prevent a patient from prolonged suffering pressure, bed sores develop. Without adequate blood flow, which would occur in the turning and moving of a patient, the affected tissue dies.
For more information, please visit our pressure sores website.
Causes of Bed Sores
Bad nursing homes can cause bed sores. Bed sores are a sign of neglect. Why do nursing home patients get bed sores twice as often as hospital patients? In part because nursing homes do not have the same guidelines for nurse to patient ratios as hospitals do. Without these tough rules, nursing homes are allowed to focus on their bottom line: profits. With a reduced number of caregivers to care for all the residents of a nursing home, the profits are maximized. Due to the lower staffing in nursing homes, patients are forced to wait longer for care, such as changing of soiled linens and clothes or being repositioned. If an older person cannot change herself, then she is forced to sit or lay in her own urine. This causes the elder’s skin to weaken by the moisture, making her more susceptible to bed sores. Unfortunately, bed sores are the underlying cause of death for several thousands Americans each year.
If you are immobilized, bed sores can be caused by sustained pressure which restricts blood flow, often the result of when your skin and the underlying tissue are trapped between bone and a surface like a bed or a wheelchair. This restriction deprives the tissue of oxygen. It tends to happen in areas of your body that are more lean and aren’t well padded with muscle or fat that lie just over the bone. People commonly develop bed sores on the coccyx, tailbone, hips, elbows, heels, and shoulder blades.
Signs and Stages of Bed Sores
A bed sore is rated in stages depending on its devastation to the body. There are four stages which increase in severity. For specific details regarding the four stages of bed sores, please visit our website at www.pressuresores.org.
Treatment of Bed Sores
Treating bed sores is challenging which is why prevention is the best medicine. Open wounds are slow to close, and because skin and other tissues have already been damaged or destroyed, healing is never perfect.
For a list of treatment options and descriptions, please visit our website at www.pressuresores.org.