A bedsore, or pressure sore, affects individuals who are not able to change their position on a regular basis. When sustained pressure is put on areas that support the body, it will lead to reduced blood supply to the location, and eventually the death of skin and underlying muscles. A pressure ulcer will typically be found in areas such as the sacral region, shoulders, elbows, and heels, and are staged or graded, which classifies the level of tissue damage that is present.
The best way to treat bedsores is to prevent them in the first place. For the sick or elderly, this will require action from their family or caregivers. One of the primary ways that bedsores can be prevented is by educating the family members of individuals who are at risk.
Prevention steps for bedsores include:
- Identifying individuals who are at a high risk of developing them.
- Ensuring that patients who are immobile have their positions changed every two hours, at minimum, in order to relieve any pressure.
- Use items that will help to reduce the pressure that is caused by wheelchairs and bed sheets. Some examples of these items include foam padding, cushions, pillows, and low-air loss mattresses.
- Be sure individuals at risk for bedsores eat well-balanced, healthy meals.
- Encourage patients to exercise daily, which should include range of motion exercises for those who are immobile.
- Ensure that individuals at risk receive proper skin care and have their skin inspected each day, ensuring it is kept dry and clean. If you care for an incontinent individual, you need to take additional care to ensure areas of moisture are limited.
Risk factors for bedsores include those who have a history of smoking, dry skin, individuals who are 70 years or older, mental health problems, impaired mobility, urinary incontinence, and those who have a low body mass.
Wheelchair Repositioning Tips
If a person is confined to a wheelchair, they should implement the following tips to help and prevent bedsores:
- Shift their weight frequently.
- Lift themselves if possible.
- Consider purchasing a specialty wheelchair designed to help prevent these issues.
- Purchase a cushion that will help to relieve the pressure.
Bed Prepositioning Tips
If you or a person you are caring for is confined to a bed, then it is essential that the right type of repositioning is done. In addition to moving and changing the position every two hours, it is also a good idea to consider purchasing specialty mattresses or cushions to help eliminate pressure points.
Skin Care Tips for the Prevention of Bedsores
It is important to protect and monitor a person’s skin regularly when working to prevent bedsores.
Some tips to help you ensure proper skin care include:
- Clean any affected area of skin with warm water and mild soap and pat dry.
- Protect the skin with talcum powder, which will eliminate excessive moisture.
- Inspect skin on a daily basis to identify areas that are vulnerable and to be aware of the early signs of pressure sores.
Other Important Factors when Preventing Bedsores
While repositioning and skin care are essential for the prevention of bedsores, it is also important that the individual who is at risk of developing them stays active and eliminates smoking, as this will increase the chance that a bedsore will occur.
The fact is that pressure sores are not only painful for a patient, but they can also lead to extremely serious issues including a weakened immune system and eventually paralysis. Being aware of the risk factors of bedsores is essential, but taking steps to prevent them is even more important.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a bedsore due to the negligence of another party, you may need legal assistance. Call or contact the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC for more information about your rights.