Stage Four Bedsores: What You Need to Know
Bedsores that reach Stage 4 are extremely dangerous. These wounds can take three months to several years to heal and can be life-threatening. Patients that have these sores that have reached this stage are often victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Four Stages of Bedsores
Bedsores are an injury to the skin caused when too much pressure is applied to an area of skin over a short time or a lesser force over a longer period. The pressure disrupts blood flow through the skin that robs it of vital oxygen and nutrients and causes the skin to breakdown and form an ulcer.
There are four stages of bedsores with Stage 4 being the worst of all. A sore that reaches this stage is big and deep. It is so deep that you may be able to see the tendons, muscles, and bone beneath it. The skin around bedsore turns black and is necrotic. There will be signs of infection, including:
- Redness around the wound
- Pus or drainage coming from the wound
- An odor similar to rotting flesh since that is essentially what a bedsore at this stage is
- Heat coming off the affected area
A Long Road to Recovery
Patients who have Stage 4 bedsores need immediate medical attention. They may require surgery and other invasive treatment to clean the wound and remove dead and infected tissue. Because Stage 4 sores are so difficult to heal, surgery may be needed to close the wound. This can be risky because those who develop bedsores are often in poor health to begin with. There will be a long recovery period where the risk of developing a serious, life-threatening infection, blood poisoning, or gangrene is extremely high.
Nursing Home Abuse is a Serious Offense
Severe bedsores like those that reach Stage 4 are often signs that the patient is not being properly cared for and is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. The sickest of nursing home patients are at a higher risk of developing these sores because they may be confined to a bed or wheelchair for most of the day. Proper care of these patients involves being repositioned at least every hour and being provided with items like cushions, special mattresses, or wheelchairs that reduce the likelihood of bedsores forming.
When families suspect that their elderly loved ones are being mistreated in a nursing home, they do have options available to them. They can report suspected abuse to the regional Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at 1-888-729-0671 and file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or health care provider responsible for the neglect.