Bedsores Can Be Prevented
People that are bedridden or in a wheelchair should not have to suffer from bedsores. That is because bedsores are very preventable and any time a person is suffering from one is a clear sign of neglect. Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are areas of damaged skin and tissue that develop when sustained pressure cuts off circulation to vulnerable parts of your body, especially the skin on your buttocks, hips and heels. Without adequate blood flow, the affected tissue dies. That is the bad news. The good news is, as mentioned above, that these sores can be eliminated with proper preventive measures. Those preventive measures however, cannot be effectively implemented without the support and involvement of the family of the person at risk.
Just because bedsores are preventable however, does not mean that the process is easy or uncomplicated. It is extremely important for a person at risk and his or her family to work with doctors and nurses to coordinate a plan. The most crucial elements of that plan include position changes along with supportive devices, daily skin inspections and a nutritious diet. Provided below are general instructions. To find more detailed guidelines click here.
A bedsore can form after only a few hours of immobility. That is why it is so important to frequently change position. Experts advise shifting position about every 15 minutes that you’re in a wheelchair and at least once every two hours, even during the night, if you spend most of your time in bed. Position changes are an area where involvement of the patient’s family is vital. If the patient cannot move on his or her own, a family member or caregiver needs to be available to provide assistance.
A person at risk needs to check his or her skin daily. Doing so is a critical part of bedsore prevention. Again, if a person cannot inspect his skin on his own, it is necessary that a family member or caregiver be available to do so. For those patients confined to a bed, it is essential to pay special attention to your hips, spine and lower back, shoulder blades, elbows and heels. Those in a wheelchair should be on the lookout for sores on their buttocks and tailbone, lower back, legs, heels and feet.
A healthy diet is a necessity in the battle to prevent skin breakdown and assist in wound healing. The problem is that those who are the most malnourished are also the most likely to develop bedsores. But even though a person at risk may have little appetite or eating may be physically difficult, it is still imperative to get enough calories, protein, vitamins and minerals. He or she should eat smaller meals, take advantage of the times they feel best, limit fluids during meals, consider pureed or liquid meals or try protein alternatives. Those are just some options available. Also, as with skin inspection and position changes, persons at risk should be closely monitored and assisted by family.
Bedsores can create extreme discomfort for a person who is bedridden or in a wheelchair. But with the proper medical attention by both medical staff and a person’s family, the problem can be largely eliminated. Quitting smoking and finding an exercise program suited to the person’s physical needs can also help. If a person ends up with a bedsore, it should not simply be shrugged off. The occurrence of bedsores isn’t an unavoidable occurrence. Rather it is a sign of neglect. If your family member is bedridden, make a point of checking his skin condition, weight and general care every time you visit. Failing to do so could result in unnecessary bedsores and unnecessary discomfort for your loved one.