According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as one in ten seniors in nursing homes will develop bedsores, which form when constant pressure or friction on the skin stops blood from flowing naturally. Bedsores are painful, difficult to heal, and can cause severe skin and bone infections.
What Causes Bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, and decubitus ulcers, appear when someone cannot move or change position for an extended period of time. People who are unable to move around tend to put pressure on the same areas of the body for long periods of time. People who are ill, bedridden, or in a wheelchair are at risk of developing bedsores.
Numerous factors can increase the risk of bedsores appearing. They include:
- being unable to move around easily due to old age or illness
- weight loss – there is often less padding over bony areas
- sliding down in a bed or chair – pressure on the skin cuts off the blood supply to an area because the skin is being pulled in different directions (called shearing)
- friction or rubbing of the skin, for example, against bed sheets
- poor nutrition
- moist skin – for example, due to sweating or incontinence
- other medical conditions, such as diabetes
- previously having bedsores
A bedsore often appears as a reddened, sensitive patch of skin that develops into a sore or ulcer extending deep into muscles and bones. If left untreated, a bedsore can lead to cellulitis or a chronic infection.
Tips to Prevent Bedsores
The following tips can help to prevent bedsores:
Relieve direct pressure
- change position and keep moving as much as possible
- stand up to relieve pressure, if possible
- have your caregiver reposition you regularly if you can’t move
- change position at least every 2 hours
- use special pressure relieving mattresses and cushions
- don’t drag your heels or elbows when moving in your bed or chair
- keep your skin clean and dry
- avoid scented soaps as they can be more drying
- moisturize your skin thoroughly after washing
- avoid using talcum powder as this dries the skin’s natural oils
- keep your skin well moisturized
- make sure the bed sheets are smooth and not wrinkled when you are lying in bed
- sheets should be cotton or silk-like fabric
- eat a well-balanced diet
- have at least 64 ounces of fluid a day
- tell your doctor or nurse if you notice any skin changes or discomfort as soon as possible
The treatment of bedsores depends on the severity (i.e., the stage) of the wound to the skin. Depending on the severity, a variety of approaches may be used to promote healing. They include hydrocolloid dressings, synthetic dressings, saline dressings, acetic acid compresses, radiant heat dressings, and various antibiotic dressings (bedsores are particularly prone to infection). For more severe wounds, surgery may be necessary to remove areas of dead skin.
The most important step in both treating and preventing bedsores is relieving pressure by frequent repositioning. Treatment also includes management of pain and the prevention and treatment of infections.
First In Care Can Help!
At First In Care, all of our caregivers complete a training program developed to deliver individualized senior care. Our insured caregivers focus on providing the best possible care with compassion and understanding. We can help your senior loved one with repositioning and avoiding certain circumstances that cause bedsores. We can also assist your loved one with the activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, bathing, dressing, toileting, and more. We can even help with errands and provide transportation to and from appointments.
First In Care has provided the best home care in Bradenton and Manatee County for over ten years. Schedule a free in-home consultation today.