Stage 4 Bedsore


With staffing issues in Chicago nursing homes, we’re seeing more and more stage 4 bedsores among nursing home residents. When a nursing home or living facility fails to notice or provide treatment for early-stage bedsores on a resident, life-threatening complications are likely to occur.

The first stages of a developing bedsore should not go unnoticed by nursing home staff who provide their residents with proper care. Bed sores develop over an extended period, starting with stage 1 and leading to stage 4. Nursing homes that offer a thorough, skin-cleaning process and other medical treatment for each patient on a routine basis will avoid bed sore progression. So, if a patient requires life-saving medical treatments for stage 4 bedsores, this means that the nursing home facility was negligent in caring for the patient leading up to the treatment. 

Call our Chicago bed sore lawyers at 312-321-1111 for a free legal case review if your loved one suffered elder abuse in a Chicago nursing home. When a nursing home resident develops bedsores or pressure sores, failure to get proper treatment for a suspected deep tissue injury means life-threatening infections can occur. If a patient’s injury has progressed to stage 4 bedsores, then nursing home neglect is to blame in most cases. 

What is a Stage 4 Bedsore?

Stage 4 bedsores are often called stage 4 pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers. A stage 4 bedsore is generally defined as a small or large wound reaching areas near or past the muscles, ligaments, or bones. A pressure ulcer often causes extreme pain, infections, invasive surgeries, or in the worst case situations, wrongful death.

Nursing home staff can’t always prevent the presence of stage 1 pressure ulcers. However, an Illinois nursing home can be held liable for damages when a pressure sore appears and healthcare professionals don’t provide treatment before the redness of the pressure sore turns into a blister.

Elderly bed sore stages progress slowly, so a patient reaching a stage 4 pressure sore shows an extreme lack of medical treatment. 

If your loved one reached a stage 4 bedsore or died from pressure ulcers, you may be entitled to compensation. Call a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer or Chicago nursing home wrongful death attorney at Curcio & Casciato for a free legal case review. Our personal injury attorneys have helped many families in the Chicago area who faced a similar scenario.

What Are the 4 Stages of Bedsores?

Pressure ulcers fall into one of four stages. This is based on the depth and severity of the pressure ulcers. The bedsore staging system helps medical professionals and nursing home staff determine the best treatment to minimize significant risk and allow for the fastest recovery. 

The four stages of bedsores are:

  • Stage 1 Bedsores: A stage 1 bed sore is characterized by skin redness and soreness. When a bedsore is in this stage, the skin remains red even when pressure is removed from the affected area.
  • Stage 2 Bedsores: When the pressure ulcer begins to form a blister on the skin, stage 2 of a pressure ulcer is likely present. Some sores will look like a shallow crater. 
  • Stage 3 Bedsores: In stage 3 of a pressure ulcer, patients will have a deep crater in their skin, exposing underlying tissue.
  • Stage 4 Bedsores: When stage 3 fails to get proper treatment, stage 4 bedsores begin to develop. Once a stage 4 bedsore develops, the pressure ulcers start to resemble a large red crater with a blackened surrounding skin. Blackened skin develops when the skin begins to die. It’s possible to see deeper tissues such as muscles, tendons, or bones when a bedsore reaches stage 4. The sore may feel hot and painful. Additionally, it’s common for stage 4 bedsores to leak pus due to the level of infection.

Stage 4 Bedsore Causes

Pressure ulcers are usually caused by a lack of movement, medical care, and adequate hygiene. They’re common for those who are in a wheelchair or bedridden. Those with limited mobility will need assistance to avoid the serious complications that come with bed sore injuries. 

If a patient has severe bedsores, after a period of prolonged pressure, the skin dies from blood loss. The pressure, friction, or any factor causing the diminished blood supply can form bed sores.

The cases we’ve seen pertaining to patients who suffered from stage 4 bedsores were often caused by nursing home abuse or neglect. 

Risk for Stage 4 Pressure Sores

Those who suffer from mobility issues and paralyzation are at a higher risk of developing pressure sores. This puts many nursing home residents at a higher risk, especially when a nursing home or assisted living facility is understaffed.

The primary individuals at high risk for stage 4 bedsores include:

  • Nursing home residents with mental impairments, like Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Nursing home patients with mobility issues and major injuries
  • Those with preexisting health conditions (such as circulation issues and diabetes), poor nutrition, and poor hygiene

Stage 4 Bedsore Symptoms

stage 4 bedsore symptoms

Common symptoms of stage 4 bedsores include:

  • Foul odor
  • Heat in the affected area
  • Fever
  • Soreness
  • Black or darker skin around the sore
  • Red coloring around the edges of the pressure sores
  • Pus or drainage
  • Inflammation and swelling around the pressure injuries
  • Severe infection

Nursing home patients have the best recovery rate from pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, bed sores, and general pressure injuries when they are treated within the first two stages according to Johns Hopkins Medicine and Health Alberta.

The symptoms associated with a stage 4 bedsore are disturbing. The patient may show signs of severe infection, as well as exposed muscles and visible areas of bone. Studies show that once a patient’s bedsore reaches stage 4, they have a small window of opportunity for treatment before the lack of blood flow causes life-threatening health complications such as sepsis or death. The stage 4 bedsore life expectancy is bleak.

When symptoms of stage 4 bedsores are present, the patient may no longer feel any pain, as their nerve endings have likely been severely damaged. However, patients with late stage pressure ulcers have already endured significant pain and suffering leading up to this point. 

Pressure injuries that reach stage 4 should be a clear giveaway that the nursing home staff has failed to do their job in any capacity. This is one of the most devastating facts in Chicago nursing home abuse cases–knowing the amount of time that a nursing home allowed their resident to endure pain and suffering. 

At Curcio & Casciato, our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers are compassionate towards families who are experiencing this terrible situation. We’re an advocate for those who have sustained advanced stage bedsore injuries. 

Treating Pressure Sores

When treating pressure sores, the approach of “sooner rather than later” is always the best when seeking medical advice for a suspected deep tissue injury.

Treatments for stage 4 bedsores often include:

  • Antibiotics in order to treat the bacterial infection and potentially prevent sepsis.
  • Surgery or debridement, which is the removal of dead tissue.
  • Reconstruction, which generally involves skin grafts to cover the damaged skin.

Stage 4 Bedsore Complications

When pressure ulcer sore stages reach 3 or 4, the injury can lead to life-threatening infections.

For instance, stage 4 bedsore left untreated could lead to;

  • Infections– Those suffering from a stage 4 bedsore become at very high risk of several infections, including bone infection or organ infection.
  • Septic shock- Sepsis or septic shock could occur when the body overreacts to a serious infection, such as an infection relating to a stage 4 bedsore. When the immune system becomes overstimulated, it harms healthy body parts, as well. In severe cases of septic shock, blood pressure can drop significantly. In many cases, septic shock can be destructive as primary organs may shut down.
  • Amyloidosis- Unfortunately, this incurable condition prevents organs from functioning properly by causing protein to build up in the body.
  • Renal failure- This particular condition causes damage to the kidneys by failure to properly remove waste from the body.
  • Loss of life- Many of the above conditions can lead to someone’s tragic death.

Our Chicago nursing home sepsis lawyers answer the question, “What are the 3 stages of sepsis that a bedsore can cause?” in the highlighted blog.

What Causes Bedsores in Chicago Nursing Homes?

In Chicago, progressed bed sores caused in a nursing home setting often stem from elder abuse or neglect. In many cases, nursing home residents have limited mobility and need help moving around. So the neglect occurs when residents spend most of the day sitting or lying down. Over time, prolonged pressure to healthy skin causes patients to develop bedsores.

Without proper nutrition and care from the nursing home staff, residents who remain immobile can put prolonged pressure on body parts and cause further complications, especially if the sores cannot heal completely. When a nursing home fails to treat the sores, they are likely to significantly worsen, affecting the deeper tissues beneath. Once a pressure sore reaches a stage 3 or 4, advanced treatment or surgery may be required. 

Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

stage 4 bedsore lawyers chicago

Those who contribute to Chicago nursing home abuse should be held responsible for their negligent actions. The Chicago elder abuse lawyers at Curcio & Casciato offer your family legal help for your unique situation through a free case review. All confidential or sensitive information is kept private through our attorney-client relationship.

Our Chicago lawyers will provide you with legal help so you can focus on getting your loved one professional medical advice and proper care for their stage 4 bedsores. Our Chicago nursing home infections attorneys will even negotiate appropriate insurance company settlements so that you can pay for the proper nutrition, blood supply, disease control, medical expenses, and any other related health expenses caused by nursing home abuse.

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