Why are bedsores dangerous?

If you are thinking of placing a loved one in an Alabama nursing home, or if you already have a loved one in such a facility, you are no doubt carefully considering the physical care that your loved one receives. You may know that bedsores are a common concern in nursing homes where residents may be bedridden or confined to a wheelchair, but you may not understand what they are or why they can be dangerous.

According to the Mayo Clinic, skin subjected to pressure for a prolonged period of time, as when one spends most of one's hours sitting or lying down, can open up at the pressure points, exposing the tissues underneath to open air. The common term for these openings in the skin is "bedsores," but medical professionals more often refer to them as "decubitus ulcers" or "pressure ulcers."

Pressure on the skin is one of several factors that contributes to the formation of bedsores. Shear, or the movement of two surfaces in opposite directions, is another contributing factor, as is friction, which occurs when bedding or clothing rubs against the skin.

Bedsores are dangerous because openings in the skin can allow bacteria to enter the body and cause infections. Some of these infections can be life-threatening, especially if the patient already has a weakened immune system.

Most bedsores heal with treatment, although this is not always the case. Treatment of bedsores involves cleaning and dressing the wound and then relieving the pressure that caused it in the first place. Special cushions for bedsores used as support surfaces, as well as frequent repositioning to more evenly distribute the pressure, may help to treat existing bedsores and prevent new ones from forming.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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