Sadly, we review more than a few pressure ulcer cases each year. A pressure ulcer is essentially a bedsore that can develop because too much pressure is placed on the skin. Often pressure ulcers form on heels, sacrums (buttocks) and other areas that non-walking long term care residents sit for hours. Family by law – SHOULD BE NOTIFIED if their loved one develops a pressure ulcer. They should also be notified if the ulcer gets worse – or a change in the condition occurs. We find however, that this rarely occurs. Often family members are told “there is a pressure ulcer but nothing to worry about – it is getting better.” Not until the hospital finds the wound is the size of a softball, and bone is exposed, does a family learn what happened.
So if a nurse says – ” I can’t show you the wound because it has to be covered to heal” – tell them “take it off anyway,” then request the attending physician to explain the wound and ask if a wound care consult out of the facility is a good idea. We have learned “wound care” nurses may be someone with less than 48 hours of special training – and that doctors don’t even look at the wound.. So that tells me – you need a second opinion!