Most people have never seen a bed sore — so it’s hard to recognize what’s happening when a loved one first develops them.

For the most part, human bodies are fairly resilient. However, as people age, their skin becomes a lot more fragile. When there’s friction or pressure on the skin for an extended period, the surface tissue and muscle underneath can both break down. That results in a pressure sore. The most common victims of pressure sores are naturally the elderly and infirm — particularly those who have difficulty moving.

However, pressure sores aren’t inevitable. They don’t have to happen. They also take a significant amount of time to develop into something serious.

What are the stages of development for pressure sores?

You’ll probably spot the first signs around bony areas, like elbows and hips. The sore may appear as nothing more than a red spot that feels unusually warm to the touch. The patient may not even feel the spot — or it might be a little itchy.

As the sore develops, a blister and then aN open sore will appear. Even the skin around the edges of the sore will look off-color, which is a sign that the damage is spreading and the tissue is dying. At this point, the victim is very susceptible to infection, and the sore becomes a lot harder to heal. It’s also at its most painful.

The sore will eventually turn into a deep crater as the damage moves into the muscle tissue. At that point, it doesn’t take long for the wound to deepen. It isn’t unusual for wounds to go all the way down to the bone. The patient may or may not feel anything, however, due to tissue death. Therefore, never assume that a lack of pain means everything’s okay.

If you see the beginnings of pressure sores on your loved one in a hospital or nursing home, alert the medical staff immediately. Bedsores can lead to death if they aren’t treated quickly. Keep in mind that pressure sores are a sign of nursing home or hospital neglect — which means it’s smart to explore your legal options.

Source: Medical News Today, “Bed sores or pressure sores: What you need to know,” Christian Nordqvist, accessed May 16, 2018