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What are the complications of bedsores?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2022 | nursing home abuse and neglect

Bedsores are a serious problem for the bedridden, immobile or unconscious. Bedsores begin to develop after just two to three hours of a person lying or sitting in the same position without someone adjusting, or turning, him or her. Bedsores can quickly result in serious complications, which is why it is crucial that you are aware of the stages of bedsores so that you can prevent life-threatening complications.

John Hopkins Medicine warns about the complications associated with bedsores. Before it does that, however, it explores the four stages leading up to the point at which a bedsore becomes fatal.

The stages of bedsores

Doctors diagnose most bedsores when they are still in one of four stages. The staging ranges from least to most severe:

  • Stage 1: The affected area is warm to the touch and red in color. It may have a purple or blue tint, and the injured person may complain of pain, itching or burning around the area.
  • Stage 2: The area may have open sores or blisters, and it may look significantly more damaged than it did in Stage 1. The area around the wound becomes discolored and the bedridden person may experience substantial pain.
  • Stage 3: In stage three, a bedsore may develop a crater-like appearance. This is the result of damage occurring beneath the skin.
  • Stage 4: At this point, the affected area has sustained considerable damage and is characterized by a large wound. The risk of infection is high in this stage, and the joints, tendons and bones may become involved.

When a bedsore has progressed past stage four, health professionals do not assign it a stage.

Complications of bedsores

Once a bedsore becomes unstageable, complications begin to develop — if they have not begun to already. The most common risk associated with untreated bedsores is infection. The infection can cause fever and chills and quickly spread throughout the body, putting the injured person at further risk of developing severe health problems. As the infection moves through the body, it may cause increased heart rate, mental fog and generalized weakness. The bedsore itself may take months or even years to heal, and even so, treatment may involve grafting, surgery and other invasive procedures.

Bedsores are a real risk for bedridden and immobile individuals. If you have a loved one who cannot adjust or rotate him or herself and who lives in a nursing home, keep an eye out for symptoms of bedsores. If you notice any, bring them to the attention of the staff and doctors right away.