Improperly treated stage 1 bedsores may progress into stage 2 bedsores. Stage 2 sores can often be treated easily and usually heal quickly with proper treatment. Bedsores are more common in older people and therefore are a significant issue in nursing homes.
Bedsores are categorized into 4 stages ranging from stage 1, which is the least severe, to stage 4, which is the most severe. Bedsores in stage 1 haven’t broken the skin yet. Bedsores that reach stage 2 have become blisters or an open sore. Unlike stage 3 and 4 sores, stage 2 bedsores have not reached deeper layers of skin or fat.
Identifying a Stage 2 Bedsore
Stage 2 bedsores can be identified as an intact blister or shallow open sore. These sores are often red or pink and surrounded by red and irritated skin. These sores may also be moist if pus or fluid is present.
Human skin is made up of layers. The topmost level is called the epidermis. A stage 2 sore has broken the epidermis to create an open wound. The second layer of skin, the dermis, is visible in stage 2. In some cases, the dermis is broken.
Stage 2 bedsores have broken the skin but have not broken past the dermis to fat. The deeper a sore goes, the more difficult it will be to treat and the longer it will take to heal. People who are at risk of developing bedsores should receive regular skin checks to identify bedsores before they progress past stage 2.
Signs of a stage 2 bedsore include:
- Intact or ruptured blister
- Irritated skin
- Pus or fluid
- Redness or discoloration
Identifying a stage 2 sore as soon as possible is imperative. Complications can occur when bedsores go unnoticed and untreated. In serious situations, bedsores can become life-threatening or lead to amputation. If a sore becomes infected, the infection can spread to the blood, heart, or bones.
Notify a doctor or other healthcare provider if you or a loved one has developed a stage 2 bedsore. A health professional can decide the best plan of action to treat the bedsore properly.
Treating Stage 2 Bedsores
Treatments for stage 2 bedsores are usually similar to the treatments for stage 1 bedsores. The most important steps for treating bedsores are to identify the cause of the sore and to eliminate that cause.
For example, bedsores are usually caused by pressure on a specific area of skin. This occurs with a lack of movement, often due to age or a health condition. A sore that has progressed to stage 2 can be aided by reducing or eliminating the pressure on that area.
Treatments for stage 2 bedsores include:
- Removing all pressure from the area
- Keeping the area clean and dry
- Maintaining a nutritious diet high in protein, vitamins (especially A and C) and minerals (especially iron and zinc)
- Staying properly hydrated
- Finding and eliminating the cause
- Inspecting the area as often as possible, at least twice a day
Nursing home attendants should help patients with bedsores to move to new positions regularly. They can also relieve the pressure by propping up parts of a patient’s body with pillows or switching the patient’s bedding or mattresses. Some bedding products are made to specifically to relieve pressure.
Cleaning a stage 2 bedsore is another important step to treatment. Stage 2 bedsores should be cleaned with saltwater or another doctor-approved cleaner and then kept dry. The cleaning process will help remove loose, damaged, and dead tissue, this is called debridement. In some cases, a doctor will recommend surgical debridement.
These sores should heal within a few weeks if they are discovered and treated swiftly and the patient is in good health. Patients who are in bad health or suffering from diabetes or paralysis may experience more difficulty healing. Bedsores discovered at stage 2 should be treated properly to ensure that they do not progress to stage 3.
Preventing Stage 2 Bedsores
The best way to prevent stage 2 bedsores is to identify stage 1 bedsores and treat them before they worsen. Stage 1 bedsores have not broken the skin and usually look like reddish or discolored spots on the body. Stage 1 bedsores usually can be cured within a few days while stage 2 bedsores can take a few weeks to heal.
Nursing home attendants and nurses should regularly check residents at risk for signs of developing bedsores. Caretakers should check patients’ skin from head to toe. These skin assessments should take place at least once a day.
Patients who are at high risk of developing bedsores should be checked as often as is reasonable. Those at risk are often elderly or have a health condition that limits their mobility. People are at higher risk of developing bedsores if they use a wheelchair, spend a lot of time in bed, or need assistance to move. Conditions that can raise the risk of developing sores include mental conditions like alzheimer’s and physical conditions like paralysis.
Bedsores Caused by Neglect
Bedsores are also called pressure sores because they are usually caused by prolonged pressure on a specific area of the body. Other factors that can put nursing home residents at risk are malnutrition, dehydration, and excessive friction on the skin. These causes are almost always preventable and in some cases are signs of serious neglect or abuse.
Many stage 2 bedsores could have been prevented with better care, more movement, or more frequent skin checks. Sometimes nursing homes fail to notice stage 1 sores or improperly treat them, allowing them to develop into stage 2 sores.
Families trust nursing homes to properly care for their loved ones. A nursing home is responsible for keeping their residents safe, healthy, and happy. Caretakers in nursing homes should monitor the nutrition, hydration, and skin health of their residents.
You may need to take legal action if you believe your loved ones bedsores were caused by neglect or abuse at a nursing home. If your loved one is not receiving proper care at their nursing home, please contact us for a free case evaluation.