Pressure sores, also called bedsores, occur when a person lies or sits in one position for too long, causing the weight of the body to cut off blood supply to the parts that press against the surface of the bed or chair. Many senior citizens, along with people with disability, as well as individuals who have suffered an injury or are recovering from a medical procedure are at risk of developing pressure sores. If one of your loved ones is bedridden, you might be wondering how you can prevent this condition from ever happening.
Change Positions Frequently
There’s a reason why they’re called bed sores. When the body doesn’t get a lot of movement such as when being bedridden, there’s no adequate blood flow to the skin, muscles tend to atrophy and the pressure from your body only makes things worse. Relieving and diffusing the pressure by switching positions frequently is the most effective way to prevent bed sores. It’s recommended that people that are confined in bed change positions at least every 2 hours, while people in a wheelchair should change as often as every 15 minutes. If they are unable to do so themselves, make sure there’s always a family member or caregiver around to help.
Use Pressure Care Equipment
Another effective way to prevent and treat bedsores is to place pressure care aids between the parts of the body and the surface they press on. Nowadays, there’s a wide range of pressure care equipment, such as bed overlays, wheelchair cushions, toilet and commode cushions, knee pillows, ergonomic mattresses containing foam or gel and other solutions for various needs. Doctors recommend to use pressure care equipment under the tailbone, shoulders, heels and elbows of the person. When lying on the side, it’s important to put a pillow between the knees and ankles to diffuse the pressure on them.
Protect the Skin and Perform Regular Checks
To reduce the risk of developing bedsores, you should keep the skin clean and moisturised at all times. When bathing, use gentle soap and lukewarm (never hot!) water and don’t scrub the skin too hard. Always use moisturising creams and lotions to protect the skin and prevent it from getting too dry. Dry skin is more prone to getting damaged. Every day, check the skin for early sings of pressure sores. Put special focus on bony areas, such as elbows, knees, heels and hips. If a person is overweight, make sure to check skin folds and the body parts that may rub together and cause sores. Also, if the person is using medical equipment like oxygen masks or oxygen tubing, inspect the parts of the skin that come into contact with it.