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What are causes and complications of bedsores?

When a person is placed in a nursing home in Bernalillo, the patient's loved ones are expecting the staff to provide proper care. Part of that is making certain that the circumstances that the patient is in do not lead to bedsores. Bedsores occur when there is pressure on the skin and that pressure prevents blood from reaching the skin and tissues. If a person is immobile or limited in mobility, the skin can be subject to this type of damage.

The following factors contribute to bedsores: sustained pressure, friction and shear. With sustained pressure, the skin and the tissues underneath will be trapped between the bone and a surface. The surface can be a bed or a wheelchair. If oxygen and nutrients cannot reach tissues, bedsores can result. Friction comes from motion being resisted. If the skin is dragged along a surface such as when the patient is moved or moves on their own, friction can arise and lead to skin damage. Shear happens if the two surfaces move in opposing directions. A patient sliding down the bed is an example of when shear can happen.

While skin problems might not seem all that serious to a person who is not in a nursing care facility and confined to a bed or wheelchair, it can cause several complications. The following conditions that can be caused by bedsores are all life-threatening. One condition is sepsis, which occurs when bacteria enters the bloodstream and spreads. Another condition is cellulitis; this condition infects the skin and soft tissues. The patient will have pain, swelling and redness. Infections to the bones and joints can cause damage to tissue and cartilage. Cancer can result from wounds that are chronic and do not heal. The cancer can be aggressive and frequently needs to be repaired surgically.

When placed in the context of the problems that can befall a nursing home patient who is elderly or infirm due to nursing home negligence, many do not realize how serious bedsores can be. Given the after effects and potential issues that can arise from bedsores, those who have a loved one who has suffered a bedsore and subsequent medical issues need to understand their rights to file a personal injury lawsuit. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in cases involving nursing home neglect is the first step.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Bedsores (pressure sores) -- Causes," accessed on Jan. 3, 2016

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