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Bed sores: what to watch for and when are they a problem?

It is never an easy decision to put a loved one in someone else’s care. Whether you have a loved one in a nursing facility, or you have a skilled medical professional providing in-home care, there is always the worry that they will not provide the same care that you would.

There are many outstanding care facilities and practitioners who take great pride in the work they do and the care they give. These are the people who pay close attention to detail and who understand the most important elements for taking care of your loved one.

Unfortunately, there are also facilities and practitioners who do not value their work in the same way. This is how your loved one can start showing signs of bed sores. Here is what to watch for and what to do if you notice bed sores on a loved one.

What is this red mark?

Recognizing a bed sore depends a lot on how long it has been on the body. Initially, a bed sore will appear as a small red or discolored area. It may be hard or worm to the touch. This is considered stage one.

If left untreated and the person is continually left in the same position, the sore will advance through three more stages. The sore may develop an odor and begin to look like a crater. A bed sore that gets to the fourth stage affect the muscle and bone. It can lead to extensive damage to the joints and other tissues in the area.

How are bed sores treated?

The most important part of treatment is to try to relieve the source of the pressure. If your loved one only lays in a particular position, try adding pillows or foam pads.

A pressure sore should also be kept clean. At stage one, this may be the only treatment necessary. As the soreprogresses, you will need to consult with your loved one’s medical team to ensure that they are getting the proper care.

What does a bed sore mean?

The people most likely to develop bed sores are those who are confined to their bed. While this restriction makes people more prone to sores, they can still be prevented.

In short, a bed sore means that the patient is not being moved or repositioned enough. Facilities should have protocols in place to ensure that residents are moved frequently (often, every two hours), to prevent sores. Bed sores can be a sign of neglect, so do not ignore them.

Of course, there are some who cannot be moved or who get uncomfortable and move back to the same comfortable position. Generally, however, you will know if your loved one is in that category. Also, if you know your loved one is in that category, develop a plan with your loved one’s medical team to try to prevent bed sores.

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