Decubitus Ulcer Stages
The medical profession acknowledges four decubitis ulcer stages, classified as such based on the severity of skin damage. Decubitis ulcers, also known as bed sores or pressure sores, develop when the blood supply to a person's skin is cut off as a result of prolonged pressure caused by extended periods of time spent without movement. People in wheel chairs and those who are bedridden due to injury or illness are most prone to develop decubitis ulcers. It is estimated that approximately one million people will develop a decubitis ulcer each year in the United States. Sixty thousand Americans die from the complications of more advanced decubitis ulcer stages every year.
The first of the decubitis ulcer stages can develop just a few hours after prolonged pressure. Decubitis is most common in bone and cartilage areas of the body, such as the ankles, knees, hips, lower back, and shoulder blades. The first of the decubitis ulcer stages is characterized by superficial skin symptoms. People with white or pale skin will develop red patches on their skin which do not turn white when pressure is applied. People with dark skin may have patches of skin which turn red, purple, or blue. At the first of the decubitis ulcer stages, the skin can either feel warm or cold and firm and may be itchy or tender.
At this earlier stage of a decubitis ulcer, proper and prompt medical attention can easily manage and treat these irritations. Frequent repositioning and turning of a patient, periodic skin inspections, good skin care, adequate nutrition, and physical movement is vital to preventing a person from suffering more advances decubitis ulcer stages.
The second of the decubitis ulcer stages is characterized by blisters on the skin or open sores or abrasion. These wounds are the result of tissue death that does not extend through the entire thickness of the skin. A patient's skin may be red or purple in discoloration. At this second of the decubitis ulcer stages, a patient's wounds may be smelly or oozing liquid. Both of these symptoms are signs of infection and must be treated promptly in order to avoid the deterioration characteristic of the third and fourth decubitis ulcer stages.
The third of the decubitis ulcer stages involves a greater degree of tissue loss. Skin ulcers at this point become craters that invade the soft tissues below the skin's surface. The fourth of the decubitis ulcer stages is characterized by a crater which reaches the muscles, bones, tendons, or joints. At these decubitis ulcer stages extensive damage to deeper structures under the skin can lead to significant pain, tissue death, and serious infections.
Nursing homes are a common place where people develop decubitis ulcers. Though they are common, cases of more advanced decubitis ulcer stages are often the result of medical abuse or negligence. All the decubitis ulcer stages are preventable when caretakers provide prompt and adequate patient care. When nursing home staff fails to prevent the progression of decubitis ulcer stages, they can be held liable for the injuries or death that results. For more information on decubitis ulcer stages, you may wish to contact an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and options.
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More Information on Decubitus Ulcers:
» Decubitus Ulcers Pictures
» Preventing Decubitus Ulcers
» Decubitus Ulcers Treatment
» Causes of Decubitus Ulcers
» Decubitus Ulcer Stages
» Decubitus Ulcers Prevention
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