Bedsores are also called pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers. These occur when a person has been sitting or lying in the same position for extended periods of time due to a lack of mobility. They are often indicative of abuse and neglect, particularly of the elderly. There are various stages of bedsores, beginning with stage 1.
What Is a Stage 1 Bedsore?
Stage one is the mildest form of bedsore. However, that does not mean that they should be treated with any less care than a more serious bedsore. At stage 1, a bedsore could be indicative of more serious problems.
Stage 1 bedsores are not open wounds. You will not see any breaks or tears in the skin of someone with a stage 1 bedsore. Because the skin is not broken at this stage, infections are not typically associated with this level of bedsore. However, they can be particularly painful for an elderly patient. The area of a stage 1 bedsore could be characterized by warm skin that may feel firmer or softer than the skin around it.
What Does a Stage 1 Bedsore Look Like?
A stage 1 bedsore will typically appear has red-colored patches of skin. However, this area of skin will not blanch, meaning it will not turn white when a finger is pressed on it. For darker-skinned patients, a stage 1 bedsore may appear to be a different color than their surrounding skin, though it may not be red in color. A stage 1 bedsore on a dark-skinned patient may appear to be blue or purple. Any skin color changes should be noted as possible bedsore development in elderly patients.
How to Prevent Bedsores
Studies indicate that approximately 95% of all bedsores are preventable. Preventing stage 1 bedsores is largely accomplished by understanding what causes them in the first place. Patients at risk of developing bedsores include those who:
have fragile skin
need help moving
do not receive proper nutrition
spend a lot of time in bed
use a wheelchair
have trouble controlling their bowels or bladder
have Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia, or other similar mental condition
Those who have family members in nursing homes should be vigilant for signs of bedsores when they visit. Constant motion for at-risk patients will ensure that they are not putting too much pressure on specific body parts. Nurses and aides in a nursing home should regularly check on patients with reduced mobility for signs of bedsores.
How Are Stage 1 Bedsores Treated?
Treatment for stage 1 bedsores can generally be accomplished by removing the cause of the bedsores. Stage 1 bedsore treatment revolves around ensuring that pressure is taken off the area that appears to be discolored. Nurses and attendants should frequently change the positions of those who lack mobility to do so. Treatment could also include securing a more fitting mattress or wheelchairs as well as removing clothing that causes friction. Physicians should also recommend nutritional diets and any other medical treatment that may be necessary to prevent bedsores.
If the causes of a stage 1 bedsore are not removed, or if the nursing home staff is negligent in their duties, a stage 1 bedsore will progressively advance to further stages. Stage 2 and 3 bedsores can produce significantly increased health risks for elderly patients, including serious infections while stage 4 bedsores are life-threatening. In the event your elderly loved one developed bedsores, speak with a qualified Anaheim elder abuse lawyer at Siegel Law.