Bedsores are a side effect of a person sitting or laying in the same position for long periods of time, and they are often a result of neglect or mistreatment by caregivers. Bedsores are also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers. The elderly and disabled are more prone to developing bedsores, and caregivers need to be aware of the additional care necessary for certain patients. There are various stages of bedsores, and stage 4 is the most severe. If your elderly loved one developed stage 4 bedsores, consider speaking with a compassionate Anaheim elder abuse lawyer at Siegel Law today.
What is a Stage 4 Bedsore?
Stage 4 bedsores are life-threatening. In the US, approximately 60,000 people die each year due to complications from bedsores, and stage 4 bedsores are much more prone to a serious full-body infection called sepsis. While stage 1 and 2 bedsores are often undetected for a period of time, when they transition to stage 3 and 4, they are painful and dangerous for the victims.
Some of the main causes of stage 4 bedsores, and every prior stage, include:
Improperly trained nursing home staff
Overworked or tired nursing home staff
Nursing home employees who intentionally neglect residents
Residents who are immobile or have limited mobility, as well as those with circulation problems, diabetes, and poor nutrition are the most susceptible to stage 4 bedsores. Stage 4 bedsores are more likely to develop around the area of an elderly patient’s body that is boney with little to no fat tissue protecting lower tissue levels.
What Does a Stage 4 Bedsore Look Like?
A stage 4 bedsore will appear as a large area of damaged and dead tissue. In these severe cases, a person’s skin, muscle fibers, joints, tendons, ligaments, and bones will be visible and dying. Damaged areas of a stage 4 bedsore will likely appear black and rotted. The tissue around the wound will be crusty.
It is almost a certainty that a person with a stage 4 bedsore will be battling an infection, including cellulitis or sepsis. There is no getting around saying that a stage 4 bedsore will look frightening in appearance.
Preventing Stage 4 Bedsores
Proper prevention methods are key to keeping stage 4 bedsores from developing. Ideally, a bedsore is discovered at stage 1 or 2 and treated promptly. At lower stages, the healing time is much less than stage 3 and 4 where the skin and underlying tissue becomes affected.
Nursing home staff can help prevent stage 4 bedsores from developing by:
Keeping residents mobile regularly
Making sure residents have proper diets and are well hydrated
Treating early-stage bedsores promptly
Carefully monitoring any lower stage bedsores to ensure they heal properly
Stage 4 Bedsore Treatment
Stage 4 bedsores need to be treated as soon as possible because they place a nursing home resident at high risk of a serious and deadly infection. Stage 4 bedsores should not be treated at a residential or nursing home facility. This is an emergency, and the resident needs to be treated at the hospital.
There are various treatments that may be used to treat stage 4 bedsores. This can include:
Debridement. This is the removal of any damages, infected, or dead tissue.
Skin grafts. These may be necessary to cover the area with healthy skin.
Antibiotics. These will help combat any infection that may be present.
The most serious bedsores can take anywhere from three months to two years to heal.