Bedsores are common among elderly patients. They may also be referred to as pressure sores or pressure ulcers. The medical term for a bedsore is decubitus ulcer. Bedsores are common in elderly patients because elders are typically in the same positions while sitting or laying down, for very long periods of time. To prevent bedsore development in elderly patients, it is important to keep the elder clean, dry, and to help the elders switch their sitting or laying positions every two hours.
What is a Stage 2 Bedsore?
Elderly patients who contract bedsores typically progress through four stages of development, although these stages are not acutely separated and may be hard to identify. A stage 2 bedsore occurs after the development of a stage 1 bedsore. When an elder has a stage 2 bedsore, the skin has broken open or worn away. This leaves the elderly patient at high risk of suffering from a new infection or disease.
What Do Stage 2 Bedsores Look Like?
Once the skin has broken open and a stage 1 bedsore becomes a stage 2 bedsore, the elderly patient will be in severe pain. The stage 2 bedsore extends deep into the layers of the patient’s skin. In appearance, the stage 2 bedsore may look more like an ulcer or a blister, as opposed to a red and irritated patch of skin.
A stage 2 bedsore may also appear similar to a scrape or abrasion. The blisters that occur during a stage 2 bedsore may fill up with clear fluid, pus, or even blood. The ulcers may develop into a shallow crater beneath the skin. During a stage 2 bedsore, some of the elder patient’s skin may die or be damaged beyond recovery. If an elderly patient’s stage 2 bedsore goes untreated, it will develop into a life-threatening health condition.
Staging a Bedsore
If an elderly patient reaches the point of a stage 2 bedsore, this means that the caretaker overlooked or failed to supply medical attention to a stage 1 bedsore. Stage 2 bedsores can quickly progress to stage 3 or stage 4 bedsores, making it acutely important to identify the type of bedsore at this point in time. Staging a bedsore can be complicated, because the four stages that a bedsore progresses through may present differently with different patients and conditions. It is wise to seek the assistance of a medical professional.
To stage a bedsore, consider the following:
- Is the wound on an area of the elder’s body that is at high risk of bedsore development?
- Has the elderly patient been sitting or lying in a position that would apply significant pressure to the area of the apparent stage 2 bedsore?
- Is the patient wearing any clothing that may cause friction on the affected body part?
- Is the patient malnourished? Is there another medical condition that may be affecting the patient maintaining proper nutrition and hydration?
- Does the elderly patient have other areas on his or her skin that are affected by bedsores or other skin conditions?
When preparing to inspect an elder patient’s bedsore first determine if the patient is allergic to any medical materials, such as latex. While inspecting the apparent stage 2 bedsore, ensure that there is plenty of light and adequate visibility in the room. Opening blinds to allow natural light in the room is a good idea. If this is not an option, use a flashlight to inspect the apparent stage 2 bedsore. Since some stage 2 bedsores may have drainage, always wear protective clothing or gloves. Take note of the level of skin breakdown or any discomfort the elder may feel during the exam.
Treating Stage 2 Bedsores
Stage 2 bedsores are not as easy to treat as stage 1 bedsores. However, if stage 2 bedsores receive the proper medical attention, the patient’s bedsores are less likely to progress into severe or life-threatening cases. On occasion, a bedsore may have developed deep into the skin, at a worse stage than it originally appears to be. If the bedsore is exceptionally dark-colored, draining with significant pus, draining with significantly bloody pus, or appearing to be black and rotting, seek emergency medical care immediately.
“Pressure Sores.” Medline Plus. 2012. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pressuresores.html>.
“Pressure Sores.” American Academy of Family Physicians. 2012. <http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/pressure-sores.printerview.all.html>.