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Current Prevention Treatment for Bedsores

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, are serious injuries to the skin and underlying tissue due to unrelieved or prolonged pressure.  For the most part, bedsores develop on skin that covers the more bony areas of the body, such as the lower back, heels, ankles, hips, and buttocks.  However, areas such as the upper thigh, elbow and ears are also areas at risk for pressure ulcers.

Those most at risk for bedsores are people with a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions, or limits them to bed for an extended period of time. For obvious reasons, the elderly, especially while in nursing homes or rehabilitation centers, are at extremely high risk of developing bedsores.  They develop quickly and are hard to treat if left to worsen.

While bedsores are a serious medical condition, there are various prevention methods that can reduce a person’s likelihood of developing a bedsore despite their risk factors.

The most important modality that greatly reduces the incidence of bedsores is to turn and position any person whose mobility is reduced.  Simply put, relief of pressure will reduce the rate of pressure sores.  Turning and positioning is essential for those who are bed bound or wheel chair bound.  In addition, pressure can be relieved by the use of pressure-reducing devices such as Roho Cushions and pillows when a patient is in a chair.  It is important that these pressure-reliving devices be monitored for “bottoming out,” which occurs when the device reaches its lowest point, rendering it ineffective against preventing pressure sores.

Another important area of concern for patients at risk for bedsores is excess moisture in the areas of the body where sores can develop.  Moist skin over vulnerable areas of the body can spell disaster for an immobile patient.  To reduce moisture, and therefore reduce the patient’s risk of bedsores, careful attention must be paid to the skin’s condition.  Barriers such as creams, proper cleaners, absorbent pads, and fecal bags can prevent incontinence’s effect on the skin.  Moisture must be checked every one to two hours in order to properly protect a patient from developing a bedsore.

In addition to reducing pressure and proper skin care, nutrition plays a vital role in the prevention of bedsore.  Offering food and water on a consistent schedule, carefully monitoring what and how much patients eat, and proper supplements can all reduce a patient’s risk of developing a bedsore.

While the above areas of patient care are very important for reducing the incidence of bedsores, the most important thing to remember when dealing with a family member or loved one in a nursing home or hospital is to remain vigilant in checking on them.  The sad truth is that bedsores develop in nursing homes and hospitals due to substandard care.  Understaffing at both nursing homes and hospitals leaves patients, particularly the elderly, particularly vulnerable to bedsores because the facilities do not maintain adequate levels of nurses and nursing assistants.  The truth is that these days profits come before people. So make sure you are watching  over your loved one.  A caring family member is the best protection against bedsores.