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Understanding Bedsores

You may have heard the term “bed sores,” but you may not know exactly what they are. Bed sores are skin lesions which can be caused by humidity, temperature, friction or shearing forces, age, and unrelieved or constant pressure. In clinical terms, bed sores are referred to as pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers. Any part of the body may be affected by bed sores, but they are often found on elbows, knees, ankles, and the base of the spine or sacrum.

Bed sores are treatable if found early. If not treated properly, bed sores can be deadly. They are the second cause of unexpected death in skilled nursing facilities. Although bed sores can be prevented, they are often overlooked or ignored by hospitals, caregivers, and nursing homes.

Certain people are at higher risk for developing bed sores. These include:

  • The Elderly – Because older adults have thinner skin, it makes them more vulnerable to damage occurring from pressure on the skin. Some elderly people also have poor nutrition which can effect circulation through blood vessels.
  • Nursing Home Patients – The majority of bed sore cases occur in nursing homes rather than at home; these cases are often due to neglect or improper care by nursing home staff.
  • Patients Who Are In A Coma – Hospitalized patients who are in a profound state of unconsciousness, such as a coma, are more vulnerable to bed sores because they are unable to move.
  • Patients Who Are Not Perceiving Pain – Some diseases as well as certain injuries may allow the patient to not feel as much pain. This lack of pain perception causes them to be unaware of bed sores that may be developing on their body.
  • People Who Have Lost Weight – People who are hospitalized or bedridden tend to lose weight. This loss of weight can also include loss of muscle and fat, which can make them more susceptible to bed sores.
  • Those Who Are Not Eating Properly – Patients who have poor diets may not take in the recommended amount of protein, vitamin C, and zinc. A lack of these nutrients can put them at a higher risk for bed sores.
  • Those With A Low Mental Awareness – People with low mental awareness may be unable to inform family or loved ones of the pain they are feeling due to bed sores.


Although bed sores can develop even with the best of care, many times they are a result of neglect on the part of nursing home and hospital staff, as well as other caregivers. If you believe a loved one has received improper treatment, let the personal injury lawyers at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates stand up for your rights. Call us today at 1.800.518.4LAW for a free consultation. Or, visit us online at www.oconnorlaw.com. Our offices are located throughout the commonwealth, including: Allentown, Bala Cynwyd, Bloomsburg, Frackville, Hazleton, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Reading, Stroudsburg, Sunbury, Wilkes-Barre, and Williamsport.