Pressure Sore Stages
Pressure sores stages are categorized into four key stages depending on their age, size, depth and severity. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, a professional organization that promotes the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers, defines each stage.
According to the Mayo Clinic, for people who use a wheelchair, pressure sores often occur on skin over the following sites:
- Tailbone or buttocks
- Shoulder blades and spine
- Backs of arms and legs where they rest against the chair
For people who are confined to a bed, common sites include the following:
- Back or sides of the head
- Rim of the ears
- Shoulders or shoulder blades
- Hip, lower back or tailbone
- Heels, ankles and skin behind the knees
Pressure Sore Stages
According to WebMD, pressure sores (bed sores) are an injury to the skin and underlying tissue. They can range from mild reddening of the skin to severe tissue damage-and sometimes infection-that extends into muscle and bone. Pressure sores are described in four stages:
Stage 1 sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful, but it has no breaks or tears. The skin appears reddened and does not blanch (lose color briefly when you press your finger on it and then remove your finger). In a dark-skinned person, the area may appear to be a different color than the surrounding skin, but it may not look red. Skin temperature is often warmer. And the stage 1 sore can feel either firmer or softer than the area around it.
At stage 2, the skin breaks open, wears away, or forms an ulcer, which is usually tender and painful. The sore expands into deeper layers of the skin. It can look like a scrape (abrasion), blister, or a shallow crater in the skin. Sometimes this stage looks like a blister filled with clear fluid. At this stage, some skin may be damaged beyond repair or may die.
During stage 3, the sore gets worse and extends into the tissue beneath the skin, forming a small crater. Fat may show in the sore, but not muscle, tendon, or bone.
At stage 4, the pressure sore is very deep, reaching into muscle and bone and causing extensive damage. Damage to deeper tissues, tendons, and joints may occur.
In stages 3 and 4 there may be little or no pain due to significant tissue damage. Serious complications, such as infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) or blood (sepsis), can occur if pressure sores progress.
Sometimes a pressure sore does not fit into one of these stages. In some cases, a deep pressure sore is suspected but cannot be confirmed. When there isn’t an open wound but the tissues beneath the surface have been damaged, the sore is called a deep tissue injury (DTI). The area of skin may look purple or dark red, or there may be a blood-filled blister. If you or your doctor suspect a pressure sore, the area is treated as though a pressure sore has formed.
There are also pressure sores that are “unstageable,” meaning that the stage is not clear. In these cases, the base of the sore is covered by a thick layer of other tissue and pus that may be yellow, gray, green, brown, or black. The doctor cannot see the base of the sore to determine the stage.
Pressure Sore Stages Neglect Attorney
If you have questions about nursing home abuse and neglect contact Kenneth LaBore for a free consultation. There is no fee unless there is a verdict or settlement offer from the wrongdoer. Mr. LaBore can be reached directly at 612-743-9048 or toll free at 1-888-452-6589 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.