What are Bedsores and How to prevent them

What is a Bedsore: Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, develop when there is too much pressure on the skin. This condition is more common in bedridden patients. These sores not only cause pain and discomfort, but may lead to infections, like meningitis, cellulitis and endocarditis. The shoulder blades, tailbone, elbows, heels and hips are the most common sites for bed sores because these areas contain little muscle and fat.

When the body doesn’t get any movement, it can hinder adequate blood flow to the skin, depriving it of nutrients and oxygen. If you or your clients are currently on bed rest, there are several things you can do to prevent bed sores.

Make sure you are inspecting parts of the body where bedsores are most apt to occur: the heels, sacrum, knees, ears, shoulders and hips. Any sign of redness should be cause for concern. Keep weight off of any reddened spots, until all signs of redness are gone

Preventing bedsores is critical, because treating a bedsore is a difficult and can require surgery.                                                           Here are some helpful tips in preventing this from happening:

  1. Change positions frequently
    When you change positions often, there will be less pressure on your skin, reducing your risk of developing pressure ulcers. It is a good idea to re-position your or your clients body at least every couple of hours. For example, if they have been lying on their back for a while, turn to them to the side.
  2. Keep skin clean and dry
    The cleaner and drier the skin is, the less likely it will develop bed sores. Dip a wash rag in a bucket of warm water and mild soap and clean your or the clients skin with it.  Then, pat their skin dry with a towel. If you rub too hard, it can lead to skin irritation.
  3. Use pillows
    Another effective way to prevent bed sores is to put pillows between parts of their body that press against each other.  Placing pillows under their tailbone, shoulders, heels and elbows. If they are lying on thier side, it is better to put the pillow between thier knees and ankles.
  4. Exercise
    When you or your client can’t even get out of bed, the idea of exercise seems daunting. However, performing a few range of motion exercises in bed can help reduce the risk of bed sores. For example, you or the client can start with an arm lift. Just lift your arm up as high as you can and hold it there for 10 seconds. Repeat the exercise on the other arm.
  5. Keep the head of the bed flat, as much as possible. Raising the head causes the body to slump down deeper into the bed, which increases shearing force on the skin.
  6. Use pressure reducing aids in a bed or wheelchair. Mattresses and seat cushions containing sheepskin, foam, gel or air reduce pressure on the skin.
  7. Change sheets frequently. Choose sheets that are wrinkle-free and softened.
  8. Massage the skin two to three times a day to increase circulation. Apply lotion liberally. Avoid massaging bony prominence’s.
  9. Maintain adequate hydration. For optimal skin health, the body needs at least eight glasses of water a day.