What are Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores) are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. Bed sores can affect any part of the body that is put under pressure. They are more common on bony parts of the body such as the heels, lower back and sacrum area.
Sometimes, people may incur financial loss as a result of bedsores. This can range from requiring more care and assistance to having to pay for medication, treatment or travel to hospital. This loss can be claimed if it transpires the bedsore was avoidable and should not have occurred.
The pain caused by bed sores can be very serious. If you have received hospital or nursing care and suffered a pressure sore you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering and monetary loss.
The signs and symptoms of pressure sores and bed sores are:
- reddened areas of skin which feel tender to touch
- areas affected often include heels, ankles, the spine, buttocks or shoulders
- if pressure continues to be applied, sores become more painful and may turn purple
- if sores are left untreated, they could develop into a more serious infection
What causes Bed Sores?
Bed sores can develop when a person is left sitting or staying in one position for too long. Some disabilities or ailments such as Diabetes, Dementia or reduced mobility can make a person more prone to developing sores which, with the right care, would have been avoided. Sadly, if left untreated can cause great suffering or even death.
Bed sores have stages ranging from a grade 1 where the skin starts to discolour, usually red and can develop right up to grade 4 where bone or tendon become exposed. In many cases this should not have happened. There are procedures that hospitals and care homes have to follow to prevent bed sores developing.
Typically, a bed sore to the heels will develop if a patient’s heels are not off loaded or given appropriate footwear. A bed sore to the sacrum can develop if a pressure relief mattress is not provided or a patient with mobility issues is not being turned.
Pressure Sore Grading
If pressure sores are not treated quickly, they can become more severe. The severity of pressure sores are measured through a grading system. The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) grading system is often used when preparing health information to describe the grade of the pressure ulcer. According to this system, pressure sores are graded from 1-4, with 1 being less severe and 4 being very severe. The grades are defined as follows:
- Grade 1: When the skin is intact but discoloured (pink/red) and the discolouration does not disappear with light finger pressure.
- Grade 2: When there is partial skin loss or damage and the ulcer appears to be a deep red/purple. They can be described to appear as a small crater or blister in the skin.
- Grade 3: When a full thickness of skin loss occurs and involves damage of subcutaneous tissue. The wound appears to be a deep crater and can be yellow in colour.
- Grade 4: When there is a full thickness of skin loss with extensive necrosis (death) of the tissues, extending across and into the deep layers of the skin. The wound appears to be a very deep crater with worsening tissue discoloration, and are mostly black in colour. There can even be holes in the tissue and underlying structures (such as bones) can be visible.
How do you prevent Bed Sores?
To reduce the risk of pressure sores there are some things you or a carer should do. This includes regularly changing your position to reduce the risk of pressure and checking your skin every day for early signs and symptoms of the pressure sore – this should be done by your care team if you are in a care home or a hospital. Risk assessments should be performed to monitor your skin and use preventative measures such as regular repositioning.
There are special pressure relief mattresses that can also be used to help prevent bed sores. Many factors need to be considered when looking after a patient and giving them the best care. Patients who experience cardiac arrest may be at increased risk of skin damage because the blood supply to the skin is diminished by a sudden fall in blood pressure. Patients with peripheral arterial disease may be at increased risk of damage to their heels. 88 % of hospital-acquired grade 4 pressure sores were on patient’s heels.
Do you have a Pressure Sores Claim?
Pressure sores can be avoided. If you or a close member of your family has suffered from a pressure sore we can help. Let our team take the pressure off you and gain the compensation that you are entitled to.
We have a trusted and experienced experts (both legal and medical). Having Specialised in Pressure Sores for many years, our experts have advised hundreds of clients and successfully won hundreds of thousands of euros in compensation for clients. If you would like a free assessment of you pressure sores claim, complete an online enquiry here.