Bed sores are a common medical issue that occur when a person is forced to lie down or sit in the same position for a long period of time. Bed sores typically afflict elderly individuals who have lost mobility. When dealing with bed sores prevention is key as treating bedsores can be difficult.
During graduate school, I provided overnight care to my great uncle and great aunt. I distinctly remember when my great uncle developed a bed sore on the heel of his foot. It was extremely painful for him. It was very difficult to treat and though we were able to keep it clean and sanitized, it never fully healed. The following are the tips I learned to help prevent my uncle from having bed sores:
1) Reposition your patient frequently. At least every 2 hours. Use pillows to prop your patient up in different positions. If your patient has some mobility and you are able to safely help them move about, do so. (My great uncle and I would walk from his bed to his bedroom door and back.)
2) Regularly inspect the patient’s body for trouble spots. If you see red sore areas starting to form make your best effort to relieve pressure in that area.
3) Keep your patients skin clean and dry. Dampness cause increased skin sensitivity.
4) Give your patient gentle massages to help increase blood flow. Do not massage near sores or potential problem areas. (My mom used to massage my great uncles calves using a small amount of lotion. He greatly appreciated it.)
5) Make sure your patient is eating well and drinking lots of water. This will help keep skin healthy.
If the person you are caring for does develop bed sores, contact a doctor for treatment advice.
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