The Caregiver’s Guide to Preventing Bedsores in Elderly and Bedridden People
As people age, their skin and circulation become less resilient — increasing their risk of bedsores (also called pressure ulcers or pressure sores).
Left untreated, bedsores on the heels and ankles can lead to months of bed rest and hospitalization. Pressure ulcers can ruin lives and even lead to amputation. People who have experienced one bed sore are at risk for developing another one. That’s why it’s so important to treat them early.
If you’re a caregiver or medical provider for bed-bound person, there are a number of ways you can help them prevent pressure ulcers.
- Change positions often. Every two hours, help the patient or loved one turn to relieve pressure on his or her skin. You might want to write down what time you helped them change positions to help you keep track.
- Inspect skin daily. Pay special attention to bony areas that are susceptible to pressure ulcers, including the heels, ankles, buttocks, tailbone, and ears. If you see any spots that are turning colors (red, purple, blue), swelling, or look callused or cracked, take action. Notify a healthcare provider immediately and keep a very close eye on those spots.
- Keep skin clean and dry. Moisture can weaken the skin, making it more susceptible to bedsores.
- Use pressure prevention products that target problem areas. GlideWear has developed a patented technology to prevent pressure sores by preventing friction (from rubbing) and shear (from sliding down in bed) — the causes of pressure sores. GlideWear products target specific areas at-risk for bedsores:
· Buttocks or tailbone: GlideWear Undershorts
· Heels or ankles: GlideWear Heel & Ankle Protectors
· Scalp, head, or ears: GlideWear Pillowcase
· Toes or forefoot: GlideWear Forefoot Protection Socks
- Use pillows for support. When the person you’re caring for is laying on her side, use pillows behind her back and between her knees to support her body.
- Keep the bed flat. The best position for a bed-bound person is to be flat. Any elevation can put pressure on the tailbone and buttocks and cause the patient to slide down the bed. If you do elevate the bed, keep the incline to 30 degrees or less.
- Encourage good nutrition. A balanced diet can lead to overall better health and more resilience from problems like pressure sores.
Bedsores are painful, inconvenient, and can take a long time to heal. Left untreated, they can lead to hospitalization. As a caregiver, there are steps you can take to help protect your patient or loved from bedsores.