Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, develop when recurring friction and continuous pressure breaks down the skin. However, the good news is that bedsores can be prevented.
The skin breakdown occurs in bony areas that lack substantial fat and muscle, such as the shoulder blades, tailbone, elbows, heels and hips. Individuals who experience difficulty moving have the highest chance of developing pressure sores. For this reason, skin injuries are common in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
If left untreated, bedsores can lead to serious infections like meningitis, cellulitis and endocarditis. However, pressure sores can be avoided when attentive caretakers learn proper prevention practices.
10 Steps To Stop The Development Of Pressure Sores
There are a number of ways to limit the risk of bedsores. Nursing home staff members should be attentive, compassionate and well-trained. In-home caretakers can also learn how to avoid pressure ulcers.
Here’s a checklist to make sure elderly individuals get the care they deserve:
- Risk Assessment: Healthcare providers should assess each individual to determine the risk of pressure sores. After an individual has been evaluated, caretakers should create a personalized plan to keep bedsores at bay. And always, always get a second opinion.
- Skin Inspection: Check and double check the skin, and then check it again. Look for inflammation, irritation and color/texture changes. Don’t skip the hard-to-reach areas.
- Moisture Reduction: Wet bedding or clothing should be changed immediately. Moisture creates friction and a breeding ground for infection.
- Incontinence Support: Urine is chock-full of dangerous bacteria. Each care facility should purchase incontinence pads, catheters, rectal tubes and sanitary lotions. For some individuals, setting a bathroom schedule might make a tremendous difference.
- Hygiene Assistance: Skin should be regularly cleaned with a gentle soap and lightly patted with a towel. Harsh, beaded scrubs and alcohol-containing products should be avoided.
- Proper Nutrition: Sores take longer to heal if the body is malnourished. Consult a dietician to be sure that each individual is consuming the right amount of healthy foods. Supplements like zinc and vitamin C, in addition to significant intake of water, is the key to achieving optimal health.
- Regular Repositioning: The biggest threat to aging skin is a long-term lack of movement. Movement stimulates blood flow and ensures that all organs receive nutrients and oxygen. People should be repositioned at least once every two hours, regardless of whether they’re in a bed, chair or wheelchair. Set an alarm as a reminder.
- Exercise: Patients should engage in light exercise. Aids can provide assistance to allow bedridden individuals to access their full range of motion. Even something as simple as lifting each arm and holding it up for 10 seconds can stimulate blood flow.
- Redistribution Equipment: A draw sheet or overhead trapeze can help to minimize accidents when moving patients. Additionally, caretakers and facilities should consider investing in an adjustable bed or wheelchair.
- Basic Comforts: Stock the room with a thick mattress, fluffy pillows, cushions and foam padding. Pillows should be placed under the tailbone, shoulders, heels and elbows. The best way to make sure a resident has what they need is to ask.
Although providing adequate care might seem like a simple task, there are thousands of residents developing pressure sores.
Individuals who developed bedsores while living in a nursing home or residential care facility as a result of neglect of abuse might be entitled to compensation.
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