Pressure Sores, also known as pressure ulcers are caused when an area of skin and/or the tissue below the skin is damages as a result of being placed under sufficient pressure or distortion to impair its blood supply.
You are more likely to be at risk off suffering a pressure ulcer if you are seriously ill, have a neurological condition, impaired mobility, type 2 diabetic or above the age of 75. Whilst they may not sound like much, pressure sores can be serious and life threatening as they can lead to blood poisoning or gangrene.
Pressure Ulcer Grades
Pressure sores are graded between levels of 1 to 4
- grade I – skin discolouration, usually red, blue, purple or black
- grade II – some skin loss or damage involving the top-most skin layers
- grade III – necrosis (death) or damage to the skin patch, limited to the skin layers
- grade IV – necrosis (death) or damage to the skin patch and underlying structures, such as tendon, joint or bone.-
Grade 3 and over pressure sores often require surgery to remove the dead tissue and possibly tendons, joints or bones.
Treatment and Prevention
Hospital acquired pressure ulcers are largely avoidable, as risk assessments should be in place to ensure that you are identified as a potential risk to pressure ulcers, and your skin should be reviewed every few hours and position changed if needed to avoid a pressure ulcer.
Treatment of pressure ulcers typically involves offloading the area of the body to reduce pressure, as well as wound care to promote healing. In some cases, surgery may be required.
If you believe you have suffered an avoidable hospital acquired pressure sore within the last three years, you could make a medical negligence claim. Please give us a call for a no obligation chat regarding the events of your care and our no win no fee agreement.