How to Prevent Bedsores

Prevent Bedsores
Prevent Bedsores

How to Prevent Bedsores. Bedsores occur when a person is forced to spend most of his time lying in bed because of illness, paralysis or coma. Prolonged pressure on specific parts of the body causes skin to become reddened, then ulcerated. Preventing bedsores is critical, because treating a bedsore is difficult and can require surgery.

Things You'll Need

  • Mattresses
  • Washcloths
  • Wrinkle-free Bedsheets
  • Lotions
  • Wheelchair Seat Cushions

Turn and reposition the bedridden person at least once every two hours. Prolonged pressure to the skin causes bedsores. Place a pillow between his knees when his legs are pressed together.

Inspect the parts of the body where bedsores are most apt to occur: the heels, sacrum, knees, ears, shoulders and hips. Any sign of redness should be cause for concern. Keep weight off of any reddened spots, until all signs of redness are gone.

Keep the head of the person's bed flat, as much as possible. Raising the head causes the body to slump down deeper into the bed, which increases shearing force on the skin.

Use pressure-reducing aids in a bed or wheelchair. Mattresses and seat cushions containing sheepskin, foam, gel or air reduce pressure on the skin.

Clean skin as soon as it becomes moist from perspiration, excrement or wound drainage. Dampness that is allowed to linger on the skin increases the chance of breakdown.

Change sheets frequently. Choose sheets that are wrinkle-free and softened.

Massage the skin two to three times a day to increase circulation. Apply lotion liberally. Avoid massaging bony prominences.

Maintain adequate hydration. For optimal skin health, the body needs at least eight glasses of water a day.

Tips & Warnings

  • For a person on prolonged bed rest, consider renting a special rotation-type bed, such as the Roto Rest bed. This bed automatically turns and repositions the occupant, and it is loaded with pressure-reducing devices.
  • Keep a written turn schedule at the bedside. Every two hours, when you turn your patient, mark down whether you left him positioned on his back, right side or left side.
  • Any sign of redness should be considered a potential bedsore.
  • Don't massage reddened areas. This encourages further breakdown.
  • Never use a doughnut-cushion under the buttocks, because it decreases blood flow where the cushion sets against the skin.
  • This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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