Nursing home residents who are bed bound are susceptible to the development of bed sores or decubitus ulcers.
Symptoms and Severity of Bed Sores
When there is constant pressure to any part of the body, blood flow to that area is restricted. When it is restricted long enough, the tissues die because of lack of necessary blood flow. Because tissue goes all the way to the bone, there are varying stages of bedsores, depending on how much of the tissue has been killed and for how long:
- Stage 1: The first stage of bedsores looks like a common sunburn. At this stage, the ulcer appears as a defined area of redness. This should be a warning sign to caregivers that the decubitus ulcer can quickly worsen if not healed promptly.
- Stage 2: The second stage of bedsores looks like a sunburn that has blistered. At this stage, the ulcer has already penetrated through the first layer of skin and is making its way to the muscles. Still treatable, a stage 2 bedsore is a short stage in the development of a range of much larger health issues.
- Stage 3: The third stage of bed sores looks like a deep crater with black edges. This indicates the ulcer has killed tissue down to the muscle and, because of its appearance, it should be very hard for any caretaker or facility to miss.
- Stage 4: The fourth stage of bed sores looks like a deep, open wound in which bone and connecting tissues are now fully visible to the naked eye. When an ulcer hits this stage, it means significant damage to the muscle, bone, and supporting structures has been sustained and is near impossible to reverse.
Even when they are treated properly, deep bedsores never truly heal. A person must have good circulation for the wound to recover, and that is often not possible for a bedridden person with this level of deep physical damage already taken place.