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Bedsores: The risk to patients with the inability to move

Bedsores are a serious condition; they may develop slowly over time or after only a few hours of sitting in the same position without being moved. Bedsores are also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers. They develop when the pressure on the skin is not adjusted over time; that constant pressure cuts off vital oxygen and nutrients, leading the skin to die.

Bedsores are very painful and can be a precursor to life-threatening conditions. Open bedsores are at high-risk of infections, and complications like bone infections or skin infections can occur. If you suffer from one, it's most likely caused by a lack of movement; this can be due to the negligence of the medical staff at the hospital or nursing facility where you're currently residing.

When you think about the body, you may believe that you can lay in one position for a long period of time without moving. The truth is that the body is always in motion. Even when you sleep, you adjust your position several times a night, allowing for the skin to receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs.

People who can't move, like those with paralysis, are at a risk of developing bedsores because of that constant pressure that is never relieved. They may not feel sore or realize that they need to adjust their seating; that could lead to pressure sores that develop into much worse.

There are two additional causes of bedsores to be aware of. These include friction and shear. Shearing occurs when the skin moves one way and the bone moves another. This can happen if you slide off a chair, for instance, tugging your skin across the spine. Slowly sliding down into a chair can do the same.

Friction can also cause bedsores, but it may seem counterintuitive; the constant rubbing on the skin from moving actually leads to the breakdown of skin. As you age, your skin gets thinner, making this more likely. If this happens to you, know that your attorney can seek out compensation to help you while you recover.

Source: A Place for Mom, "Bedsores: Risk Factors & Prevention," Jeannette Franks, accessed June 29, 2016

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