What is bedsore staging?

Nursing home residents in Kentucky are more likely to develop bedsores, or pressure ulcers, when they spend a great deal of time confined to a wheelchair or a bed. You may know that, if you have an elderly loved one with bedsores, it is important for them to receive proper medical treatment or they may develop a life-threatening infection. However, you may not be familiar with the staging of bedsores and how it affects treatment. 

According to WebMD, when diagnosing bedsores, doctors assign each individual ulcer a stage, usually represented by a number between 1 and 4. The stage identifies the severity of the lesion and indicates what treatment your loved one should receive. The higher the stage number assigned to a pressure ulcer, the more severe it is. Therefore, a stage 4 bedsore is the most severe, while stage 1 indicates only a mild lesion. 

It is the depth of a pressure ulcer, i.e., how many layers of tissue it penetrates, that determines its severity. The least severe bedsores (stages 1 and 2) penetrate no deeper than the skin, while stage 3 and 4 bedsores can affect the underlying fat layer and deeper tissues.

However, not all bedsores fit neatly into these four stages. Some more severe ulcers may present a benign-looking surface appearance consistent with stage 1 or 2. Doctors classify these as suspected deep tissue injury. When a doctor cannot tell how deep a sore is because he or she cannot see to the bottom, he or she refers to it as unstageable. Only upon cleaning out the lesion is the doctor able to stage it. 

Bedsores that show signs of infection, such as heat, redness, odor or pus, require a doctor's immediate attention.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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