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How to Prevent Bedsores in Bed Ridden Patients?

Preventing-Bedsores

A major part of any recuperation involves long periods of rest. This rest is essential. It gives the body a much-needed break from its daily chores to concentrate solely on the repair of the affected areas. It can be something as common as a cold with a fever or something as complicated as an operation. Whenever something goes wrong with your body it demands rest. Unfortunately, rest by itself can become a source of other problems. A prolonged period of inactivity leads to muscle laxness, stamina loss, irritation and skin ulcers known as bedsores. You must be wondering how you can get any problem by simply laying on the bed. The fact is that even simply laying on the bed can lead to painful ulcers and wounds. This article will guide you on prevention, treatment, and control of bedsores.

What Are Bedsores?

Bedsores, as the name suggests, are wounds that form on the body when there is undue pressure on the skin. The pressure is generally formed because of being bedridden. They also go by the name pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. Bedsores are skin and underlying tissue injuries. These are seen on the backside of your body because it’s your backside that gets exposed to the continuous pressure when you are on bed rest. Bedsores generally form on the skin of less fleshy or bony parts of the body. These might include but are not limited to:

  • Ankle
  • Tailbone
  • Hips
  • Buttocks
  • Heels
  • Spine
  • Shoulder Blades
  • Back of the head

The At-Risk Category

People who are at the risk of developing bedsores are those that have some underlying medical condition or otherwise are unable to move around freely. This restriction causes them to lie on the bed or sit on a chair for extended periods resulting in injury to the skin and hence bed sores. People who are suffering from illness or are bound to a wheelchair are at the maximum risk. Also, people suffering from muscle spasms are more inclined to developing bedsores.

Recognizing Bedsores

Some of the telltale signs that you should be on the lookout for bedsore formation are:

  • Swelling
  • Pus formation and discharge
  • Changes in skin color and texture
  • Skin bruising
  • Some skin areas will be warmer to touch than other areas
  • Unexplained fever

Bedsores range from severe to almost non – existent. The degree depends upon various factors with skin health being a major one.

Causes of Bedsores

All the causes of bedsores stem from the inability to move around which restricts you to your bed. Some of these reasons which increase the pressure resulting in ulcers are discussed below:

Old age and Illnesses: These prevent easy movement restricting you to the bed. Some of these illness or medical conditions are:

  • Spinal injury
  • Leg injury
  • Cancer treatment
  • Surgical operation
  • Accident
  • Coma

The list is exhaustive. It includes anything that renders you incapable of moving about thereby forcing you to stay in the bed or chair.

  • Weight Loss: A sudden decrease in weight can also lead to bedsores. This is because of decreased padding of the skin leading to increased friction during pressure resulting in bedsores.
  • Shearing: This is sliding down or slumping on the bed or chair. This increases the pressure built up on the skin since the skin is getting pulled in different directions causing it to tear and injure. This injury and tear ultimately result in bedsores.
  • Poor Diet: Low-quality diet causes brittle skin amidst other problems. It also leads to brittle bones and muscle ache all reasons for being bedridden.
  • Dehydration: Lack of moisture causes dry flaky skin. This type of skin is most prone to damage with prolonged friction and pressure.
  • Soggy or Damp Skin: Moistness in the skin causes irritation and low elasticity leading to infections and ulcers.

Treatment of Bedsores

Bedsores are easily treatable. Mostly the treatment is preventive. The exact plan will depend upon the location and severity of the wound. Here’s a list of the common ways employed to treat bedsores as per Mayo Clinic:

  • The first thing is to alleviate skin pressure due to excessive lying in one position.
  • Wound care by cleaning and dressing the wound frequently to avoid secondary infection
  • Antibiotics and antibacterial creams or ointments to apply on the wound
  • Pain management through oral medications
  • Well balanced nutritious diet plan
  • Physiotherapy may be recommended to improve your mobility

Bedsores Complications

As per Hopkins Medicine, the worse thing about bedsores is that once developed it might take days or months or even years to heal. Also, bedsores are open wounds that are highly prone to infections. You do not want any secondary infections when your body is already overloaded with some medical precondition. This infection if left untreated can cause severe complication including mental confusion.

Tips to Prevent Bedsores

It’s easy to prevent your loved ones from getting this painful condition. Some timely intervention and practical tips can not only prevent bedsores but also hasten their treatment and stop them from getting worse. These tips are listed below for your convenience:

  • Relieving Direct Skin Pressure: The main point of bedsores is that they are formed because there is direct pressure on certain parts of the skin. Relieving this pressure will automatically prevent bedsores from forming. Some ways of doing this are:
    • Standing up
    • Changing positions every two hours by alternating between right side, left side and lying flat on the back
    • Using pressure-relieving special pillows and mattresses like an egg crate mattress or a fluidized mattress
    • Avoid unnecessary dragging of heels or elbows when moving about in the bed
  • Taking Care of the Skin: The second easy way of preventing bedsores is by taking indulging in skincare. Good healthy skin does not irritate and injure easily. Few tips for skincare are:
    • Avoid cosmetics and skincare products that dry out your skin
    • Keep skin dry and clean
    • Moisturize meticulously
    • Avoid powders
    • Avoid skin treatments like bleaching, waxing or tanning
  • General Factors: Aside from the above specific factors there are also certain general factors that you should take into consideration. These are:
    • Invest in good quality bed sheets that are soft and smooth
    • Ensure your bed linen is clean, dry and not wrinkled
    • Maintain a well-balanced diet
    • Keep yourself hydrated
    • Avoid unnecessary skin friction wherever possible

There is nothing more irritating, anxious and depressing than having your movement restricted. This affects both your mental condition and physical condition. Fortunately, even though bedsores come part and parcel to the enforced bed rest this condition is easily managed, prevented and treated.

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