Bedsores are a skin condition that can result when a person spends most of his or her time immobilized in a bed or a wheelchair. They also go by names such as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers. If a resident of a nursing home develops multiple bedsores, it could be a sign of neglect, suggesting that staff members are not repositioning the patient often enough.
Left untreated, bedsores can lead to sometimes life-threatening complications. The staging of bedsores refers to how advanced the injury has become. Recognizing early symptoms of bedsores allows for faster intervention, which could mean a better outcome for the patient.
According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, early symptoms of bedsores include an area of redness or discoloration that may also be warm and hard to the touch. The seriousness of bedsores depends partly on how much blood flow the area is receiving, and the color of the skin can be an indication of that.
Upon locating a suspicious area of discolored skin, leave pressure off it for 10 to 30 minutes. If the skin does not return to normal during that time, it could be early bedsore. Pressure should remain off it, and finding and correcting the cause is of critical importance.
According to WebMD, there are primarily four stages of bedsores. Stage 1 is the mildest, while Stage 4 is the most severe. The staging of bedsores depends on how deep the sore extends and how many layers of the skin it involves.
However, bedsore staging is not always straightforward. Sometimes there is a suspected deep tissue injury in which it appears to be Stage 1 or 2 on the surface but the damage extends deeper. Sometimes it is impossible to see the bottom of the sore to gauge its depth. This is an unstageable sore and requires cleaning before a more accurate assessment can take place.