As we age, the body and mind starts working less efficiently, and in many cases, we require more help than we would have otherwise needed for everyday activities. Nursing homes provide care to such elderly individuals, taking care of the needs they can’t address on their own. Bedsores have become a common occurrence in nursing facilities in Massachusetts, and they often point to elder neglect.
What are Bedsores?
Also called pressure ulcers, they occur in seniors who need help moving or changing positions on a bed or wheelchair. Without this help, individual areas such as the shoulders, back or buttocks are subjected to too much pressure, and the skin and underlying tissue wears away.
Places with the least flesh or muscle between the skin and bones such as the elbows, shoulder, tailbone, and buttocks are the most affected. Bedsores are usually treatable in the early stages, but they become harder to combat as time passes.
Stage 1 bedsores are the mildest. The skin still isn’t broken, but the spot looks and feels different from the surrounding skin. It could be discolored, feel harder, softer, warmer or cooler than surrounding skin. Bedsores are easily treated at this stage.
Stage 2 sores are more serious. The skin wears away and breaks open, and it’s painful and tender to the touch. The bedsore forms a blister that fills up with clear liquid and some of the skin dies away. A doctor would soak the area in saline and remove all the dead skin and with proper care, the ulcer will heal after several weeks.
Stage 3 bedsores penetrate layers of the skin, forming a sort of crater with dead or fatty tissue inside. Treatment is difficult, and it involves debriding using a variety of techniques and dressing it to prevent infections.
Stage 4 sores are the most severe, and if a nursing home in Massachusetts let it get to this stage, then you definitely need to talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer. By now, the sore is extremely deep, affecting the muscle, bone, and tendons. Tendons don’t heal from the damage, and all the dead tissue must be debrided through surgery. Sores at this stage are prone to infections and very difficult to treat, and the infection can even infect the bone, a condition known as osteomyelitis.
Unstaged sores don’t really fit into any of the other four stages. The bedsore might be deep, and the skin intact, but the underlying tissues may be dead. Referred to as deep tissue injuries, they are extremely difficult to treat, but since the skin isn’t broken, the chances of infection are reduced.
Taking Legal Action
It’s important to discover bedsores as early as possible. Late-stage bedsores can be a clear sign of neglect, and not only will they cost quite a bit in medical bills, but they can also be life-threatening. Don’t hesitate to Contact one of Tetzel Law’s experienced personal injury lawyers today at (617) 933-3858 to arrange a free consultation.