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It is a common misconception that decubitus ulcers ("bedsores," "pressure wounds") only happen to people of advanced age that are bedridden for extremely long periods of time. While factors like age, incontinence and certain types of medication are factors—–pressure, friction, humidity and temperature can cause this potentially deadly condition to develop in a shockingly short period of time, regardless of age.

RGGL was recently contacted by the family of a working woman in her 50’s who walked into a Bronx hospital under her own power complaining of back pain. Although she had diabetes and hypertension (controlled by medication) she had no other significant medical history. She did require back surgery, and was hospitalized for approximately 8 weeks.

Her family came to meet with hospital staff members in anticipation of her release from the hospital for the holidays. One of her daughters was told that family members would have to be instructed in "wound care," which she presumed related to the surgical incision from the back surgery. She was shocked to learn (and see) that her mother had developed serious decubitus ulcers on her lower back and buttocks while at the hospital. This unfortunate woman now faces a long road to recovery, and remains hospitalized in a different institution, facing many complications such as the continuing spread of infection.

The development of bedsores can be easily prevented with proper care. They routinely appear on "bony" areas of the body that will remain in contact with the bed’s surface for extended periods of time (heels, low back, elbows, ankles, e.g.) However, even the simple procedure of turning the patient every 2 hours can prevent this condition from occurring in the first place. These ulcers can begin as seemingly innocent areas of redness on the parts of the body mentioned. If you or someone you know have a loved one in the hospital or bedridden at home, make sure you discuss preventative measures with their health care professionals. Bedsores are no "accident;" they result purely from neglect.

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