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What are Bedsores and Where are They Common?

Bedsores, commonly referred to as “pressure ulcers,” are skin complications that occur after a long period of constant pressures on particular areas of the skin. Bedsores are most common on the heels, hips, and back, but can also be found on shoulders, elbows, or even the back of the head. The constant pressure on an area of skin ultimately impairs blood flow to the region under pressure. Bedsores are most commonly found in individuals that have restricted movement.

As this helpful article by Russo, Russo, & Slania explains, bedsores are unfortunately commonly found in the elderly under the care of a nursing home. Sadly, bedsores are often the result of inadequate care and a negligent caregiver. The article estimates that 10 percent of nursing home residents suffer from bedsores. Moreover, the article expressed that bedsores are often a sign of an overall systematic failure of a nursing home to care for the inflicted elderly individual. This is a tragic realization, given that nursing home residents are admitted by family members who assume their loved ones are being adequately cared for.

Depending on the severity and stage of the bedsores, this skin condition can be extremely painful. Fortunately, if detected early enough, bedsores can be treated. In fact, simply turning or moving are ways to redistribute pressure and encourage blood flow to the affected area.

As I stated, treatability and the pain associated with bedsores often depends on how long they have been on the skin. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisor Panel has classified four injury stages of pressure ulcers. The stages are as follows:
Stage 1: Partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis – At this stage, the bedsore is difficult to spot, but there may be changes in sensation, temperature, or firmness on the affected area.
Stage 2: Partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis – At this stage, the wound appears moist and pink or red. Bedsores do not reveal fat exposure, nor does it reveal the lower layers of skin.
Stage 3: Full-thickness skin loss – Bedsores at this stage reveals fat layers of the skin. The edges of the wounded area may also appear rolled. Depending on the affected area, bedsores at this stage may reveal deep skin damage.
Stage 4: Full-thickness skin and tissue loss – At the fourth and final stage, bedsores this bad could lead to exposed muscle, tendon, ligament, or cartilage in the wounded area. At this stage, bedsores are severe.

It is important to keep an eye out for bedsores before it is too late. You do not want to find that your loved one has suffered for so long that bedsores are at a later stage as defined by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisor Panel. As the previously-mentioned article states, you should be especially vigilant for finding bedsores that have formed on your loved ones that are residing in a nursing home.

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