Bedridden patients and people on wheelchairs often fall prey to pressure sores due to their inability to move. Pressure sores are injuries that develop when there is sustained pressure on the same part of the skin over a period of time. They are injuries to the skin and to the underlying tissues.
Pressure sores are commonly referred to as bedsores or pressure ulcers.
Unvarying pressure on the skin restrictions the flow of blood to the skin and the tissues, this robs them of oxygen and nutrients they need and can hence cause damage easily. Friction caused by sustained rubbing of skin against clothes or the bed can also cause bedsores.
Common sites of pressure ulcers are:
- Tailbone and buttocks
- Shoulder bones
- Back of arms and legs
- Heels and ankles
- Spine and hips
- Back of the head or its sides
Bedsores can cause pain and discomfort. A bedsore, if not treated promptly, can lead to complications that could be life-threatening. A bedsore is preventable but it can be challenging to do so in cases where the patients are frail or are in a vulnerable position. However, let’s look at some ways to help prevent them:
- Changing positions helps shift the body weight thus reducing pressure on the same parts of the body. For a patient who is bedridden, it is advisable to move his/her body every two hours. Just turn the patient over on their side and prop him up using a pillow.
- Using pillows between parts of the body that touch or press against each other is recommended. If the patient is lying on his side, it is advisable to place pillows between his knees, ankles and heels.
- Make sure that the patient’s bed is not very elevated. If it is elevated, the patient will tend to slide down hence causing friction near the tailbone and hips. Over a period of time, this sustained friction can cause bedsores.
- It is important to keep the skin dry and clean at all times to avoid bedsores. Dab the patient’s skin with a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Use some gentle soap to keep the skin clean.
- Exercising even while lying on the bed can help prevent bedsore. Simple movements of the arms and other parts of the body that the patient can comfortably move can improve blood circulation.
- A nutritious diet combined with plenty of liquids is important to heal and prevent bedsores. It is important to follow a balanced diet as per the medical needs of the patient.
The caretaker or the patient himself should inspect the skin on a daily basis to identify early signs of bedsores so they can be treated immediately. Early signs of bedsores include skin discoloration, a change in the texture or the temperature of the affected part, pus, swelling or tenderness.
At One Life, wound care is a specialist’s job. We have a team of doctors and nurses dedicated to healing wounds. We have a comprehensive wound care system in place where our team liaises with your primary doctor so as to leave no stone unturned in the healing process. We also educate family members on how to care for wounds and how to prevent them in the future. You can avail all of these services in the comfort of your home. Call us on 1800 425 19999 for more information.