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Pressure sores: What to know about this preventable condition

Pressure sores, also known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, are injuries that occur due to pressure on a bone, skin and tissues over time. Since there is no circulation, the sores develop. Over time, this could lead to several serious complications.

Sores are bad enough on their own, but they can also lead to cellulitis and osteomyelitis. These are infections of the skin and bone that can be extremely painful and lead to further complications such as sepsis or death. Cellulitis leads to weeping wounds that crack or split open, while osteomyelitis causes pain when pressing on the infected area.

Other possible complications include:

  • Necrotizing fasciitis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Endocarditis
  • Meningitis
  • Septic arthritis
  • Abscesses
  • Heterotopic bone formation
  • Squamous cell skin cancer

What should you do if your loved one has a pressure sore?

The first thing to do is to seek immediate medical help. Pressure sores develop when a person is not moving enough. In a nursing home or medical facility, the nursing staff should be assisting the individual in moving enough to prevent these injuries. Moving even slightly throughout the day prevents this painful condition from occurring.

If you notice that this is a problem, the likelihood is that something isn't right at the nursing home. You should speak with the director to discuss reasons for pressure sores developing and consider talking with your attorney about the potential for a lawsuit. Pressure sores are one of a few signs that your loved one may be being neglected by the staff at the facility and that you need to take action to protect him or her.

Source: WebMD, "Complications of Pressure Sores - Topic Overview," accessed April 20, 2018

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