Pressure Ulcers and Infections
Pressure ulcers and infection are a serious risk to patients in long term nursing home facilities. Approximately one million people develop pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores and decubitis, every year in America. At least sixty thousand lives are lost as a result of pressure ulcers and infections or other complications each year. Three of every four people who suffer pressure ulcers and infections are seventy years of age or older. In light of this fact, the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers and infections are major issues in the nursing home industry.
Pressure ulcers and infections can affect patients who are bedridden, unconscious, unable to feel pain or sensation, or are immobile and use a wheelchair. Pressure ulcers develop after a period of prolonged pressure which cuts off circulation to the skin and causes it to die. When pressure ulcers develop, they begin as superficial irritations to the skin that appear as reddish or otherwise discolored patches of skin. If left untreated, deeper pressure sores and infections can develop.
When pressure ulcers are not prevented or treated, tissue deterioration can deepen to invade the tissues and underlying structures. When pressure ulcers become open wounds they are very vulnerable to infection. Infection occurs when bacteria enters the affected areas. Pressure ulcers and infections are characterized by pus discharge, foul odor, fever, and tenderness, heat, or redness around the pressure ulcer. Sweat, feces, urine, and other sources of moisture are all common causes of pressure ulcers and infections. Incontinent patients, those who are paralyzed, and other disabled patients are at a greater risk of developing pressure ulcers and infections.
When patients suffer from pressure ulcers and infections it is vital that they be promptly and adequately treated to avoid life threatening complications. Nursing staff have a duty to administer antibiotics and pain medicine when appropriate, clean and bandage affected areas, and respond to all the needs of patients with pressure ulcers and infections. When pressure ulcers and infections are left uncared for serious complications can threaten the lives of these patients.
Pressure ulcers and infections can lead to a variety of serious complications. Infections can cause gangrene or tissue death. Osteomyelosis is a serious bone infection that occurs with advanced stages of pressure ulcers. A patient can develop scar carcinoma, or cancer in the scar tissue of a pressure ulcer. Sepsis is a serious infection that occurs when bacteria enters the blood stream via a pressure ulcer. Sepsis is fatal in fifty percent of all pressure ulcers and infections cases.
When nursing home patients develop pressure ulcers and infections it can be the result of nursing home abuse or negligence. Nursing care professionals have a legal duty to prevent patients from suffering from pressure ulcers and infections. If they fail to do so, they can be held liable for any injury or death that ensues.
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More Information on Pressure Ulcers:
» Pressure Ulcer Pictures
» Preventing Pressure Ulcers
» Pressure Ulcers in Elderly
» Pressure Ulcer Care
» Pressure Ulcers and Nursing Staff
» Pressure Ulcers and Infections
» Pressure Ulcer Treatment
» Pressure Ulcer Prevention
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