Bedsores (also called pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers) are common in people who need help moving around. When a person sits or lies in one position for a long time, it puts pressure on their skin. Blood and oxygen cannot reach the skin, and it begins to die. Sores develop.
There are four stages of bedsores:
- During stage I, the skin is reddened, but not yet broken. Stage I ulcers are not always painful.
- During stage II, the skin breaks and a shallow open wound develops. The outer layer of skin (the epidermis) has been completely destroyed. The next layer of skin (the dermis) is damaged, but not destroyed. Usually, the bedsore is pink or red.
- Stage III bedsores are very serious. There is a great deal of skin loss – fat may even be visible. The skin within the sore will either be yellow or dead (black).
- Stage IV bedsores can penetrate to muscle tissue, tendons, or bones. These tissues may then die as well if pressure continues.
Without proper treatment, serious bedsores can be life-threatening, and extremely painful. However, with good caregiving, they can often be avoided altogether, or treated successfully if they do appear.
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“Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers).” April 25, 2017. The Mayo Clinic.Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-sores/home/ovc-20315615
“NPUAP Pressure Injury Stages.” National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Available at http://www.npuap.org/resources/educational-and-clinical-resources/npuap-pressure-injury-stages/