Prevent Pressure Sores
We have all experienced the feeling of sitting or lying in one position too long and having a painful or numb red spot. For someone who spends most of the day in bed or in a wheelchair that spot can become a pressure sore. Pressure sores are blisters or breaks in the skin caused when the bodys weight presses blood out of a certain area.
The most likely people to get pressure sores are those who are low weight, overweight, malnourished, diabetic, dehydrated, or whose bodies retain fluids. The best treatment of pressure sores is prevention.
The most common areas for sores are the bony areas tail bone, hips, heels, and elbows.
Sores can appear when the skin rubs repeatedly on a sheet.
The skin breakdown starts from inside, works up to the surface, and can occur in just 15 minutes.
Damage can range from a change in color in unbroken skin to deep wounds down to the muscle or bone.
In light-skinned people, in the first stage, a sore may change skin color to a dark purple or red area that does not become pale under fingertip pressure. In dark-skinned people, this area may become darker than normal.
The affected area may feel warmer than surrounding skin.
Untreated pressure sores can lead to hospitalization and can require skin grafts.
Keeping Skin Healthy
It is easier to prevent a pressure sore than to cure it so check the skin daily. Bath time is the ideal time to do this without causing a person discomfort. Here are some suggestions to keeping you or your family members skin healthy
Keep the skin dry and clean. Urine left on the skin can cause sores and infection.
Keep clothing loose.
If splints or braces are used, make sure they are adjusted properly.
Massage the body with light pressure using equal parts surgical spirit and glycerin. Ask a nurse or a pharmacist for advice.
Turn a bedridden person at least every two hours, alternating positions.
Keep wrinkles out of sheets.
Use flannel or 100% cotton sheets to absorb moisture.
Provide an egg crate, sheepskin mattress pad, or air mattress pad for added comfort.
When the person is sitting, encourage changing the body position every 15 minutes.
Change the type of chair the person sits in; occasionally try an open-back garden chair.
Provide as much exercise as possible.
If you notice pressure sores, you must alert your caregiver, nurse or the doctor. General guidelines for treatment are
To reduce the chance of infection, provide all care while wearing gloves.
Take constant pressure off sores
by changing positions often and by
using pillows or a foam pad to support the body with at least an inch of padding.
Do not position the person on his bony parts.
Do not let the person lie on pressure sores.
In bed, change positions at least every two hours.
Follow the doctors treatment plan in applying medication to sores and bandaging the areas to protect them while they heal.
Remember, good nutrition is key to preventing and curing pressure sores.