News & Events
What Are Pressure Sores and How Do They Occur?
- March 12, 2017
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: pressure sores
At some time or other you have probably heard people mention pressure sores, but not known exactly what they are. You may even have an elderly relative who is bed ridden and has pressure sores due to lack of mobility. They do have a more commonly used name and that is bed sores and sometimes they are referred to as pressure ulcers. Whatever you have heard, the terms pretty well mean the same thing. It is basically damage done to the skin and sometimes the tissue under the skin and in the worst cases it’s so serious that it affects the underlying bone.
The Reason for Pressure Sores
It doesn’t take too much to establish that they take place when the skin is put under too much pressure causing painful damage. Generally, a person shifts regularly from one spot to another, whether it’s in bed, sitting in a chair or even sunbathing on a beach. Rarely do you sit in precisely one spot unless forced to do so. If you have had an accident and are bed bound while you heal and are unable to move, you could develop pressure stores unless someone else physically moves you to another position.
There are 4 Types of Pressure Sores
Pressure sores have been allocated grades. Grade I is minor, while grade 4 is considered to be serious.
A Grade 1 Pressure Sore
This minor pressure sore indicates its presence by a discolouring of the skin, which is generally red in those who are fair-skinned and blue or purple in darker skinned people. In both cases the area affected may feel warmer than usual and the victim may complain of pain in the area or an itchy sensation.
A Grade 2 Pressure Sore
The skin in this case has lost some of its thickness as damage has been done to the top two layers of the skin. There may be nerve damage as well. It may resemble a blister in appearance or it may look like an open wound.
A Grade 3 Pressure Sore
Much of the skin’s thickness will have been lost with this type of sore, leaving a deep and open wound.
A Grade 4 Pressure Sore
The skin area of this grade of pressure sore will have suffered severe damage which is so bad that any surrounding skin will have been starved of much needed oxygen leading to complete destruction of the skin tissue. The victim may even have experienced damage to adjacent bone.
Who is Likely to Experience Pressure Sores?
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recorded who is most likely to develop a pressure sore. Some of those most at risk are listed below.
- Anyone who finds movement difficult, such as an elderly person.
- Anyone who suffers from poor circulation.
- Anyone who is unable to feel pain in any part or all their body.
- Anyone who suffers from incontinence which softens the skin leading to damage.
- Anyone who is confined to bed to recover from an injury or surgery.
- Anyone who fails to consume the right diet or sufficient liquids which weakens the strength of the skin.
- Recipients of hip replacements.
How You Can Avoid Pressure Sores
The first way to avoid an outbreak of pressure sores is to assess where they are likely to occur and ensure that the pressure is constantly moved off this area. It could be your bottom, hip, heel, elbow, back, shoulder and the back of the head.
Hospital Guidelines for Patient Admissions
As they so commonly affect patients in hospitals, the current guidelines recommend that all patients be assessed within six hours of admission to hospital. A further reassessment should take place if the patient’s situation is altered such as being restricted to bed for an indeterminate period of time.
Pressure sores are avoidable, so it is quite likely that clinical negligence is the source of this painful problem. If you believe you or one of the members of your family has painful pressure sores as a result of poor hospital care, you should arrange a consultation with a lawyer at Curtis Legal who can decide if you are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering you have needlessly endured.