Bed sores are pressure wounds which are caused by a patient’s own bodyweight. They appear as bruises primarily on certain parts of a bedridden patient’s body, and soon advance to full-blown ulcers, if left untreated. However, such wounds may indicate more than just the bedridden condition of a patient, depending on the circumstances. Let’s get to know those circumstances and what they may indicate.
If the individual was admitted to a nursing home, hospital, or any other healthcare clinic at the time, then they should not have developed bedsores. Now, there are extreme conditions where these are unavoidable, but they are just that, extreme conditions. Barring such cases where nothing can be done to prevent the sores form appearing, pressure ulcers might be indicative of hospital or nursing home abuse.
Most pressure ulcers can be prevented easily by helping the patient to change their position every hour or even sooner, depending on the doctor’s recommendations. Previously formed pressure wounds are also treatable in most patients, even if the ulcers are in their advance stages. In case the patient is comatose or paralyzed, the healthcare establishment should have the staff, knowledge, and equipment necessary to change their position as needed.
Therefore, if you find bed sores, aka pressure ulcers on anyone who is admitted to a hospital or is residing in a nursing home, it most likely indicates medical negligence. In case we are discussing elders in a nursing home, such negligence is far too common, and it should not go unheeded. Consider moving them to a different facility as soon as possible and consult with a reputed nursing home abuse law firm for more details regarding your options for launching a medical negligence claim against the responsible party/parties.
If the individual has not moved much for even just a few hours, that can be enough time for Stage 1 pressure wounds to appear at times. There are several associative, corelative, and causational links between multiple medical conditions and accelerated and/or frequent pressure wounds.
Immunocompromised and aged patients are innately more vulnerable to pressure wounds, but there are other conditions which can rapidly accelerate the progress of bed ulcers. Especially vulnerable patients can develop pressure ulcers in just one to three hours, and in such cases, pressure ulcers might be corelated with, accelerated by, or a result of:
- Fragile blood vessels and connective tissues.
- Excessive muscle and fat loss.
- Heart disease, myocardial infarction, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral vascular disease, and atrial fibrillation among others.
- Traumatic skin injury, desensitization of skin indicating nerve damage.
- Diabetes mellitus, hypoproteinemia, malnutrition, and anemia.
- Temporary and permanent coma, paralysis.
A single night’s sleep can be enough time for some patients to develop Stage 2 pressure ulcers. If the patient was at home when the bed sores were noticed first, then it likely indicates that something has changed drastically. For example, they might have had a stroke at night, leading to partial paralysis that made them unable to move.
In any case, immediate hospitalization should be considered mandatory if the patient seems to have developed unforeseen and serious pressure wounds overnight. It should also be accompanied by other symptoms of the underlying cause, which in almost all cases are alarming on their own.