Posted on Oct 02, 2008 | Comments 0
When a person is bed-ridden for a lengthy period of time without any movement, constant pressure on the specific part of skin leads to poor blood circulation and reduces the blood supply to that particular area.
Over time, this loss of blood supply causes the skin to break down and form an open sore, known as a bed sore or pressure sore.
Primarily, this damage to skin appears on the skin surface as a red or dark patch. As the bed sore progresses, the skin will break into blisters, dead skin and ultimately infects the underlying tissues, joints and bones.
Bed sores are very serious and if the infection reaches the bones and joints, can even cause death. Fortunately, it is possible to treat pressure sores, if they are identified early. They can be prevented easily by following a few preventative measures:
Choose appropriate position in bed
The position in which you lie is very important in preventing pressure sores. Your physical therapist will advise you on all the best ways to position the patient appropriately in bed.
Change position frequently
Changing the position of the patient frequently and consistently is crucial. In effect, it takes just a few hours of immobility in a wheelchair or bed for a pressure sore to begin. Many experts suggest shifting the position of the patient every 15 to 30 minutes, if they are in wheelchair and every two hours during the night.
Use soft, wrinkle-free sheets
Sheets can have a large impact on preventing bed sores. Rough, wrinkled sheets irritate the skin, so it is advisable to choose sheets with a high thread count. Soft padding can also provide comfort and support for the patient, and should be used in beds and wheelchairs.
Keep the skin clean and dry
Make sure that you use a non-toxic cleanser to eliminate dirt and areas that could pick up fungal infections frequently. Always dry the skin afterwards with a soft towel.
Provide good nutrition
Healthy diet is crucial in preventing skin breakdown and also helps to heal wounds. Try to provide the patient with smaller and more frequent meals. Consider protein alternatives and limit fluid supply between meals as much as you can.
Sometimes it is not possible to completely avoid bed sores, but if you identify them early, many surgical remedies are available to eliminate them immediately. Check areas of the body which are most prone to developing bed sores like hips, back, heels and shoulders.
If you notice that these specific areas are welted or splotchy, contact your healthcare provider for appropriate advice. Always try to keep the patient as comfortable as possible and try to remove the pressure from the body part.
Posted in: Skin Disorders