What is a bedsore and why does it occur?



Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, are an injury to the skin and underlying tissue. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel has identified three causes of bedsores.

Pressure: Prolonged pressure on the skin compresses the tissue underneath. As a result, blood flow is hindered and eventually the tissue dies. This is the most common way that bedsores develop, and generally occur to nursing home residents that are confined to bed, a wheelchair, or are otherwise immobile.

Shear force: Shear occurs when the skin surface remains fixed, or slides in one direction, while the underlying bone or ligaments travel in another direction. This action also causes decreased blood flow and tissue death.

Friction: Continued rubbing of the skin against a surface over a long period of time can cause the skin to tear and deteriorate.

No two nursing home residents are at the same risk of developing bedsores. Under the law, nursing homes are obligated to assess the bedsore risk of each resident. Then, based on that assessment, take preventative measures.

Often, nursing homes will use a tool called the Braden Scale. Categories like mobility, nutrition, friction, moisture, and activity are rated on a scale of 1-4, and these totals are combined for a final number. The lower the score, the higher the risk of bedsores. As such, the more preventative measures that should be taken for that resident.

Preventative measures include consistent repositioning, sometimes as often as twice per hour, proper nutrition and hydration, prompt care for incontinent residents, and the use of devices such as low air mattresses, heel raisers, and special seat cushions.

Bedsores are generally preventable with proper care. In fact, if a bedsore has developed, then chances are the nursing home has been negligent in some way. 

If your loved developed bed sores at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are wondering if you have a claim, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.