Bedsores occur when there is pressure put on a certain part of the body for an extended period of time. Some of the other terms that you may hear when referring to these sores include pressure sores, skin ulcers, and pressure ulcers. Most of the time, these sores will present themselves over areas of the body that are particularly bony and that already have less blood flow. Some of the examples include the elbows, hip, and the back of the head. When there is not enough blood flow to an area for two hours or more, it can cause the skin in the area to die. It is simply not getting enough oxygen.
In cases where the patients are bedridden or where they spend most of the day in a wheelchair, it can be hard to prevent bedsores from appearing. It is important to take precautions though, and there are a number of things that caregivers are able to do to reduce the risk of development of these sores. It is important to reposition the patient at least once every two hours. Patients who have severely limited mobility should be in a physical therapy program. This can help them to keep moving and to keep the blood flowing. It also helps to prevent the muscles from atrophying. If a patient is able to walk, they should be allowed to do so.
Some of the other things that you will want to do include checking the patient’s skin regularly to see if you notice any signs of bedsores. The sooner you notice a problem the sooner you can correct the issue. It is easier than waiting until the sores progress. Keep the patients clean, and keep the linens clean and dry. Foam pads on the bedding can provide more comfort and cushioning, particularly for the areas that are prone to developing the sores. Beds that can raise and lower and those that can change the amount of pressure can be helpful as well. However, you have to be careful that the patient does not slide.
Of course, proper nutrition and hydration are important as well. This can help them to have stronger and healthier skin, thus reducing the risk of bedsores.
Knowing the causes of bedsores is a great way to know the best ways to prevent them. Different things can cause these sores to develop. The most common cause is sustained pressure. This causes the area under pressure to have reduced blood flow and therefore reduced oxygen. When a harder surface contacts the bony surfaces of the body, it can exacerbate the problem further. Bedsores will often start out with redness and irritation of the skin. As they start to develop, the wound will worsen.
Friction against the skin can cause the sores to develop as well. This is especially true if the skin is tender or wet. It is important to keep the fabric rubbing against skin to a minimum. It is also important to ensure clothing and linens are dry and cleaned regularly.
Another type of injury is called shearing. This happens when the patient is in a bed that can be raised or lowered. If the patient is in one position for a long period of time and then suddenly changes position of the bed, damage to the skin and even the tissue that was under pressure can occur.
If you notice bedsores on a loved one, they are the result of negligence. The staff at the facility is responsible for not noticing and doing anything about these sores. It is important to remove the patient from the situation and seek medical attention for the sores. In addition, it is important to contact the authorities to let them know the situation so they can investigate.