Even with the best medical care and attention, complications can arise from grade three or grade four pressure ulcers and can occasionally be life-threatening to the patient.
Complications resulting from bedsores are discussed below:
- Cellulitis: This acute infection can spread from the pressure sore, causing pain, redness and swelling, and into a deeper layer of the skin. If left untreated, cellulitis can be life-threatening. In some studies this includes sepsis and meningitis – an infection of the membrane surrounding your brain and spine.
- Joint and Bone Infection: Infection can also spread from the bedsore into joints and bones. This infection can damage tissue, cartilage and bone within days. Eventually, this infection can lead to joint and bone failure.
- Necrotising Fasciitis: Necrotising fasciitis is also commonly known as “flesh-eating” bacteria. It is a serious skin infection that causes rapid tissue death. It can occur when a bedsore becomes infected with a particular type of bacteria. Emergency treatment is required, involving a combination of both antibiotics and surgical removal of the dead tissue.
- Sepsis: One of the greatest causes of danger of an advanced pressure ulcer is sepsis. When sepsis occurs, bacteria from an infection enters your bloodstream and spreads throughout your body. This is a rapidly progressing and very life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be sure to check them thoroughly for signs of developing or worsening bedsores. Be sure the staff is paying particular attention to the patient’s condition, and update you on a frequent basis on the current status of the bedsore.