Stage 2 Bedsore

Stage 2 bedsores mark the point when a pressure ulcer breaks the skin, causing severe pain. Older nursing home residents may be at risk of stage 2 bedsores if staff members leave less severe sores untreated. While stage 2 bedsores often heal in a matter of weeks, staff that fail to address them may be committing nursing home negligence.

Reviewed by Julie Rivers, MBA , Eldercare Advocate & Expert

What Is a Stage 2 Bedsore?

If a stage 1 bedsore is not treated promptly or properly, it may progress into a stage 2 bedsore. At this stage, the bedsore has broken into the top layers of skin, looks like an open blister, and generally causes pain and discoloration.

Nursing home residents may be at risk of bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers) if they have limited mobility or underlying health problems. Untreated stage 2 bedsores can worsen, causing serious health problems or even death. Fortunately, proper medical care can help older adults recover.

You need to know that stage 2 bedsores may be a sign of nursing home abuse or neglect. Staff members are trained to prevent bedsores — if they fail to do so, you may be able to hold them accountable through legal action.

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Stage 2 Bedsore Causes

Bedsores and other pressure injuries develop when blood supply is interrupted. Sitting or lying in the same position for too long restricts blood flow and damages the surrounding skin.

Stage 1 bedsores do not break the skin, but lying in the same position after one has formed can cause the skin to tear open, meaning a stage 2 bedsore has developed.

Improper nursing home care can also cause bedsores. For example, poor training or understaffing may prevent staff members from being able to address residents’ mobility needs.

After staff members failed to catch a New Jersey nursing home resident’s bedsore early enough, it became untreatable, and the woman, unfortunately, passed away. In a 2017 lawsuit, the resident’s family claimed that understaffing and nursing home neglect ultimately caused her death.

Who Is at Risk for a Stage 2 Bedsore?

Nursing home residents that rely on staff members to help them move are at a higher risk of stage 2 bedsores. Other factors, described below, can also put seniors at risk of bedsores.

Certain Medical Conditions
Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that elders with circulation issues and diabetes are more likely to suffer from bedsores.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that incontinence can make skin problems more likely. Feces and urine can make nearby skin moist, increasing the risk of irritation. Further, adult diapers can trap waste, allowing them to damage skin unless they are quickly changed.

Malnourishment reduces overall health and weight — two factors that make bedsores more likely. It also may take longer for someone to heal from a bedsore if they’re malnourished and underweight.

Symptoms of Stage 2 Bedsores

The most notable symptom of a stage 2 bedsore is an open wound that has broken the top layer of skin called the epidermis. Stage 2 bedsores may also reach the dermis, which is the layer of skin below the epidermis.

Stage 2 bedsores can develop anywhere. However, areas close to bones are at a greater risk.

Bedsores often form around the:

  • Ankles and heels
  • Back of the head
  • Hips
  • Shoulder blades
  • Tailbone

Clear fluid or pus may leak from the affected area, and the nearby skin may be discolored.

Additionally, Johns Hopkins University notes that patients with stage 2 bedsores complain of significant pain — more so than those with stage 1 bedsores. The pain may lessen as the sore worsens, but it will become harder to treat and can lead to deadly problems.

Stage 2 Bedsore Prevention

Stage 2 bedsores can be prevented if stage 1 bedsores are treated early on. This involves removing pressure from the bedsore, cleaning and drying it, and seeking medical care if it doesn’t clear up in 2-3 days.

Family members or loved ones can look for stage 1 bedsores — marked by discolored, painful patches of skin — when visiting a nursing home resident. Nursing home residents can also prevent stage 2 bedsores by noting signs or symptoms of stage 1 bedsores and voicing their concerns to caregivers.

If a resident believes that the staff members aren’t listening to their worries, they can talk to a trusted family member or long-term care ombudsman. The family may be able to intervene on the resident’s behalf, and ombudsmen are trained to resolve issues between nursing home staff and residents.

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Stage 2 Bedsore Treatment

The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) encourages people with stage 2 bedsores to see a health care provider as soon as possible.

Treatment for stage 2 bedsore typically involves:

  • Bandaging: Bandages help keep bedsores dry and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Cleaning: Doctors may use a saltwater solution called saline to clean the open wound when bandages are changed.
  • Debriding: The Mayo Clinic notes that damaged and dead tissue must be removed so the bedsore can heal properly. This process is known as debridement.
  • Getting Good Nutrition: The MSKTC recommends a diet rich in vitamin A and C, protein, zinc, and iron as part of a stage 2 bedsore treatment plan. Drinking enough water is also important. Johns Hopkins Medicine found that bedsores won’t properly heal without these dietary changes.
  • Reducing Pressure: Taking pressure off the bedsore will prevent it from getting worse and allow the skin to start repairing itself.

Seek medical advice from trusted doctors or nurses to learn more about treating pressure sores.

Stage 2 Bedsore Prognosis After Treatment

A patient with a stage 2 bedsore has a relatively good prognosis (health outlook) if they receive the right treatments in time. Stage 2 bedsores heal in three days to three weeks with proper treatment, according to the MSKTC.

Complications From Stage 2 Bedsores

Stage 2 bedsores that are not treated can spread into deeper tissues, causing stage 3 and 4 sores. Late-stage pressure sores are harder to treat and can cause serious health problems, some of which may be fatal.

Examples of complications linked to bedsores are described below.


Bedsores that become infected can cause fever, weakness, mental fog, and rapid heartbeat. Infections can also spread to the blood and bones, leading to conditions like sepsis and osteomyelitis.

Permanent Tissue Damage

Some bedsores that affect deep tissue may never fully heal — even with treatment.

Additional Health Problems

The MSKTC found that bedsores increased the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), amputations, and autonomic dysreflexia.

Financial Complications

Stage 2 bedsores may also bring financial complications, as the injured person will likely need extensive medical care to fully recover. Thankfully, financial compensation may be available if you or a loved one developed a stage 2 bedsore while living in a nursing home.

Compensation for Stage 2 Bedsores

You may be able to access compensation for stage 2 bedsores by taking legal action against a nursing home and its staff.

Nursing home compensation can help pay for:

  • Medical treatments
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Emotional damages
  • Other expenses

You and your loved ones may be eligible for this financial aid right now — but time is limited. Get a free case review to learn more about pursuing compensation. Our Patient Advocates can help determine if you are able to file a claim.

You deserve justice. Get a free legal case review now.

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Reviewed by:
Julie Rivers, MBA
Fact Checked

Julie Rivers is an eldercare advocate with over 15 years of dedicated service to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. Her journey in this field became deeply personal when she assumed the role of an unpaid caregiver during her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

ReferencesView References
  1. Litchford, M., Dorner, B., & Posthauer, M. (2014, January 1). Malnutrition as a precursor of pressure ulcers. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  2. Attrino, A. (2017, August 13). Woman developed fatal bedsore while in nursing home’s care, suit claims. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  3. Government of Alberta. (n.d.). Stages of pressure injuries. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  4. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Bedsores. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  5. Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center. (n.d.). Recognizing and treating pressure sores. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  6. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). How to care for pressure sores: Medlineplus medical encyclopedia. Retrieved March 11, 2021, from

  7. Mayo Clinic. (2020, February 29). Bedsores (pressure ulcers). Retrieved March 11, 2021, from