Pressure Sores

Injuries that affect areas of the skin and underlying tissue are known as pressure ulcers/ bedsores / pressure sores. They are caused when the affected area of skin is placed under continued pressure and friction which interrupts the blood supply to that part of the body. The presentation can be as little as patches of discoloured skin to open wounds that expose the underlying bone or muscle.

Case Study

Our client’s wife had suffered a stroke which affected the right side of her brain although her mental capacity remained intact. Our client’s wife was known to suffer from pressure sores and blisters. Despite this she was incorrectly assessed as being not susceptible to sores and blisters. Thereafter there was a catalogue of nursing errors which resulted in further pressure sores. A particularly nasty ulcer on her toes  became gangrenous. Read the full case study here.

The parts of the body most at risk of developing pressure ulcers are those that are not covered by a high amount of body fat and are in direct contact with a supporting surface, such as a bed or a wheelchair.

If you are bedbound (unable to get out of bed) you are at risk of developing pressure ulcers on your:

  • shoulders or shoulder blades
  • elbows
  • back of your head
  • rims of your ears
  • knees, ankles, heels or toes
  • spine
  • tail bone (the small bone at the bottom of your spine)

If you are a wheelchair user, you are at risk of developing pressure ulcers on:

  • your buttocks
  • the back of your arms and legs
  • the back of your hip bone

Other risk factors include:

  • poor nutrition – for your skin to remain healthy it requires nutrients that can only be supplied by eating a nutritious diet
  • an underlying health condition, which disrupts your blood supply or makes your skin more vulnerable to injury and damage
  • urinary incontinence and/or bowel incontinence causing moisture which can break down the outer layer of skin
  • mobility problems because of spinal cord injury, severe pain that makes it difficult to move, fractured bone, recovering from surgery, being in a coma, a condition which makes moving difficult etc.
  • reduced blood supply
  • being over 70 years old

Two out of every three cases of pressure ulcers develop in people who are 70 years old or more.

Skin assessment is acknowledged to be an important aspect of pressure ulcer prevention.

Pressure ulcers are largely preventable.  By removing the factors leading to their occurrence, healthcare professionals can prevent pressure sores from developing.

A nurse or doctor can be found to be negligent if a patient is harmed because of ignorance of well-accepted and well-known published nursing and medical research findings. This includes methods of protecting the patient from pressure ulcer development.

Have you or somebody you know suffered further complications to a pressure ulcer because:

  • There was no attempt to prevent the formation of a pressure sore
  • Healthcare professionals failed to recognise your  risk of a pressure sore
  • There was a failure to do a risk assessment
  • There was a failure to ensure that repositioning was carried out according to an individualised schedule
  • And more….these are just examples.

If you feel that you may have a claim for compensation due to complications with pressure sores then please contact us using the callback form to the right or click here to send us an enquiry via our contact page.