The Danger of Bed Sores
A blister is a painful area of irritated, reddened skin, which has had too much pressure placed on it, for too long of a time. People can get blisters from a burn, from an infection, or from working repeatedly with a tool.
With any blisters, the sensitive, irritated area of skin can become red, swollen, filled with fluid, and covered with a very thin outer layer of skin. If blisters become over-filled with fluid or get bumped, they may burst and the liquid comes out. Not only can bursting cause pain, but it also allows germs to enter and increases the chance of an infection developing.
Residents in nursing homes are especially at risk of developing a specific type of blister called a bed sore or pressure sore. These sores develop from staying in the same position (usually in bed) for a long time. The pressure of the skin against another surface, such as a mattress, does not allow enough blood to circulate through the area, and the tissue begins to die.
Those at greatest risk of getting these painful sores are people who are least able, or entirely unable, to move by themselves. These people may include residents with paralysis, unconscious residents, those recovering from surgery, residents who are too weak or too large to turn over in bed, and those with nerve damage caused by diabetes.
Although bed sores can become dangerous, the good news is they are preventable. They develop over time. If noticed early, they can be treated and healed before they have the chance to worsen.
One very important role of nursing assistants is to discover bed or pressure sores when the sores are still in the earliest stage of progression. Upon noticing the first signs of a bed sore, (usually a slightly pink or reddish circle or area on the skin, which does NOT go away after changing position), the CNA should notify the nurse immediately.