Ulcer sores, commonly known as bedsores or pressure sores, are a type of injury to the skin and its underlying tissues. The affected area of the skin reddens and feels tender. These sores often develop on the ankles, heels, buttocks, shoulders and spine.
If they go untreated the sores begin to develop, becoming more painful and they may go purple in colour. If pressure continues to be applied to the sore, the skin and tissue will begin to break down. The damage often leaves crater-like sores which can be susceptible to infection.
Sores can range in colour, size and severity. Some sores may only see a small patch of skin discolour while other may become infected and reveal underlying bone or muscle.
What causes’ pressure sore injuries?
These pressure sore injuries occur when the skin is placed under pressure, hence the name pressure ulcers/sores. Sores can either occur when a large amount of pressure is exerted on the skin or pressure is applied to the skin over a sustained period of time.
The pressure disrupts blood flow in the skin. The prevention of blood flow starves the skin of oxygen and nutrients, causing it to break down and result in ulceration.
People with health conditions that restrict their movement are usually at a greater risk, such as those who are bed bound or confined to a wheelchair.
Medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes where blood flow can be restricted throughout the body can also make a person more vulnerable to pressure sores.
Elderly people also face a greater risk due to decreasing mobility and ageing skin.
Prevention and treatment for pressure sores
For patients who struggle with mobility, such as wheelchair users and those who are bed-bound, pressure sores can be avoided by regularly moving the patient’s position.
Hospital Nurses, Care Home nurses, Health Visitors and District Nurse should also monitor the condition of their patient’s skin for redness to prevent it developing into a pressure ulcer.
Care facilities should use specialist equipment to protect areas of skin that are vulnerable to pressure sores, such as specialist cushions and mattresses.
Nutrition is an important method of pressure sore prevention. A balanced diet that contains a healthy amount of protein, vitamins and minerals will prevent skin damage as well as speed up the healing process for any damaged skin. Eating smaller meals throughout the entire day is better than eating two large meals at the beginning and the end of the day.
Although the majority of pressure ulcers are preventable by simple measures such as the ones mentioned above, pressure sores do develop and require treatment.
It is important that pressure ulcers are treated with the necessary ointments and creams to speed up healing, whilst using the right dressings to cover the wound to prevent infection. If however infection does occur, antibiotics should be prescribed to treat the infection.
Claiming medical negligence for pressure sore injuries
Most pressure sores can be avoided by better care. The majority of cases EAD deal with are for elderly patients in nursing homes or hospital where they have not received adequate care; pressure ulcers could have been needlessly avoided in many of these cases had better care been administered.
When the care staff, whether they are nursing home carers, hospital nurses or district nurses, fail to adhere to the known preventative measures and provide adequate treatment, pressure sores can develop when they could have been easily avoided.
If you or one of your loved ones has suffered from pressure sores injuries or ulcers whilst at hospital or in a nursing home because of negligent care, then you could be entitled to claim compensation.
For more information on making a medical negligence claim after suffering from pressure sore injuries, contact our team of Liverpool solicitors on 0151 735 1000.
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