Before looking at the pressure ulcer grades, it is worth looking at exactly what a pressure ulcer is, and how it is caused. A pressure ulcer is an area of skin that reddens due to lack of mobility from the patient. Often the patient is forced to lie in one position for a prolonged period due to mental or physical incapacity. If the hospital or care home fails to move the patient, or place them on an air mattress, the redding of the skin can develop and form into an ulcer (blister in appearance) which can break and become infected. They are graduated from 1 to 4 based on their severity.
At this stage the pressure ulcer presents itself by the skin turning into a red color, similar to the skin immediately after a minor burn. The skin may also appear a little harder than usual and than the surrounding areas. It may also be warmer than usual.
At Grade 2 the skin now starts to look like a blister, with whitening of the skin whereas before it was red. It will now look like an abrasion or a blister. The skin can also appear cracked and broken.
By Grade 3 the ulcer has usually started to open. The skin benefit is more visible and red. There may be a smell emanating from the ulcer. It now looks unpleasant.
There is now a deep ulcer with broken skin and you can see down through the layers of skin often including damage to the muscle, bone or supporting structures. Grade 4 ulcers can be life threatening.
Treatment For Pressure Ulcers.
Depending on the severity of the ulcer treatment can include debridement of the area, removing as much of the infection as possible, dressings, sleeping on an air mattress and regular turning of an immobile patient. Changes to diet, ensuring that the patient receives plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is also recommended, along with exercise where this is possible.
Prevention is far better than cure when it comes to pressure sores. If you notice anyone that is in the care of a hospital or care home developing red, sore or harder areas of skin this should immediately be brought to the attention of the treatment provider. They can then start to take the action above. Often due to the hospital or care home staff being so busy they may miss the development of pressure ulcers. This is why it is so important that the family and friends of the patient are aware of how pressure ulcers develop as they may be instrumental in noting the development of it and ensuring treatment when the patient is not capable of this.
What Can You Do?
If you, a family member or friend has sustained pressure ulcers or pressure sores as a result of a stay in hospital, a care home or any other treatment center, we can examine the circumstances of your injury and advise you wherever you can make a claim for compensation.
Compensation For Pressure Ulcers / Pressure Sores.
Due to the pain, discomfort and suffering experienced by the patient, rewards for compensation for ulcers can be significant, often in excess of £ 20 – 30,000.
Pressure ulcers can be a minor nuisance, yet if left untreated they can become a major, even fatal problem. Taking early preventative action can save a considerable amount of pain and suffering.