Questions and Answers About Pressure Sores

Q: What is a pressure sore?
A: Pressure sore, bedsore or decubitus ulcer is tissue damage and tissue death caused by pressure on an area, usually by lying in one position without any turning and re-positioning.

Q: What causes the skin to break down and die?
A: There are four physical factors–pressure, friction, shearing and maceration. Friction is the skin rubbing against another surface, such as when a patient slides down in bed; shearing is when 2 layers of skin slide upon each other, like when a patient is transferred from the bed; maceration is caused by excessive moisture.

Q: What are the risk factors for pressure sores?
A: Immobility, inactivity, incontinence, poor nutrition and an altered mental status.

Q: How are pressures prevented?
A: Instutute a turning schedule, at least every two hours; limit time sitting in a chair to less than 2 hours; don’t elevate the head of the bed more than 30 degrees. Also, use a low-air-loss mattress (NOT an egg-crate mattress–they don’t work); monitor nutrition; keep the skin clean and dry.

Q; When are pressure sores unavoidable?
A: Pressure sores are almost always avoidable. They should never be allowed to develop in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility.

Q: Are pressure sores dangerous?
A: Yes. They can become infected and be life-threatening. Pressure ulcer is a bad sign and is associated with a 400% increase in in-hospital death.

Q: What if my loved one is in a hospital, assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility and does get a pressure sore?
A: First, be sure to bring it to the attention of the staff. Take photos if possible. Document your conversations with the staff, including the date, whoo you talked to and what response you got.

Q: What if the pressure sores get worse?
A: Immediately call Kip Sinclair at Sinclair Law Offices (772) 489-3600 for a free consultation and advice on how to proceed to protect your loved one.