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What are "bedsores"?


Any of our Georgia readers who have been in a medical facility have probably heard doctors and nurses express concerns about "bedsores." Bedsores are of particular concern with elderly patients, or patients who are suffering from some type of injury or illness that limits their mobility. But what exactly are "bedsores"? Why are they such a concern, and how can they have a negative effect on medical patients?

Bedsores are also referred to in the medical community as "pressure sores." Pressure sores is actually a more descriptive term, because bedsores develop due to prolonged pressure on a person's skin. That pressure can lead to damage both on the outer skin and the underlying tissue. The areas on a person's body where skin is the thinnest are the primary concern - places like hips or ankles, or other bony areas.

Sure, bedsores are unsightly, but what are the real concerns? Well, bedsores can be difficult to treat and they can develop quickly in patients who are the most at risk, such as elderly people. Most bedsores are basically just open wounds, and many of our readers probably know that if an open wound is left untreated the likelihood of infection can skyrocket. In the most serious cases, a person who has untreated bedsores could be open to sepsis, in which bacteria enters the body, spreads throughout the bloodstream and in many cases can lead to organ failure.

When a person resides in a nursing home or an assisted-living facility and that person develops bedsores, there could be a major concern. After all, the staff members at these facilities are charged with caring for people who are usually in the most dependent of states. If bedsores develop, there could be a cause to pursue a civil lawsuit based on nursing home neglect.

Source: mayoclinic.org, "Bedsores (pressure sores)," Accessed May 17, 2015

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