Bedsores, or pressure sores, are sores caused by prolonged pressure on an area of the body. They are common among the sick, elderly, disabled, and others who have difficultly moving themselves. The pressure from prolonged amount of time sitting or laying in the same position begins to cut off the supply of blood to an area of the body. The sores start as red irritations (stage 1), but can develop into blisters or ulcers (stage 2) and will eventually form a crater (stage 3) which indicates damage to the tissue below the skin.
Stage 4 bedsores are the most serious level of bedsores. By the time, a stage 4 sore has formed, there has already been a craterous sore for some time. Stage 4 is the terminology used to indicate the crater has become so deep that there is damage to the muscle and bone underneath the skin. Often times, the muscle or the bone may actually be exposed, complicating treatment and causing a heightened risk of infection.
Infection seriously delays the healing of earlier stage bedsores but can be life-threatening at Stage 4. Infection can penetrate the bone, causing osteomyelitis and requiring weeks of treatment. From there, the infection can spread into the blood stream, causing sepsis. This will also require weeks of treatment and skin grafting may be necessary. Skin graft operations, however, may not be successful in older or malnourished patients, which are two of the groups most likely to suffer Stage 4 bedsores. Even if a skin graft operation is successful, the infections may recur months or even years later.
Cause of Bed Sores
Stage 4 bedsores are almost always the result of negligence, neglect, or outright abuse. By the time a sore reaches this stage, the neglect has gone beyond the mere occasional omission and instead represents prolonged mistreatment. Stage 4 bedsores can occur anytime there is prolonged pressure on a part of the body, but they are especially common when a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation center, foster home, or other care facility fails to monitor its patients or residents over a prolonged period.