Caring for Bedsores and Preventive Measures

Caring for bedsores is important. Their main cause is carelessness in the handling of a person who must remain immobilized for a long period of time. One can avoid these types of injuries and their complications by taking the proper preventive measures.
Caring for Bedsores and Preventive Measures

Last update: 15 December, 2020

Caring for bedsores is crucial. These are injuries produced by staying in the same position for a long time and where some part of the body is compressed against something solid. They often occur in people who’ve been in bed for a long time, although they may also occur in those who hold other positions for long periods of time.

Note that you can prevent most bedsores just by following the basic rules of care and attention. In fact, the presence of this type of injury has legal implications for the caregiver in several parts of the world.

Bedsores can lead to a number of complications that are life-threatening in the most serious cases. Women suffer frequently from this type of injury but it’s also more prevalent in people between the ages of 71 and 90.

Description of bedsores and how to go about caring for them

An illustration of the skin.
Bedsores often appear in long-term immobilized patients.

This condition is basically a type of necrosis, or tissue death, and affects the skin and subcutaneous tissue. They occur when any part of the skin is subject to pressure between two planes. These planes are usually the person’s bones and a solid surface, such as a bed or chair.

This continuous pressure leads to a decrease in the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin being under pressure. It happens because the blood vessels are crushed. Thus, the skin doesn’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients and the tissue dies. The consequence is usually bedsores.

As we mentioned above, these lesions appear mainly in people who remain immobilized for a long time or in those with wound healing deficiencies. The ulcers have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life and require specialized care.

Causes and types of ulcers

The main cause of bedsores is the lack of care and measures to prevent them. The necessary precautions must be taken so that this type of injury doesn’t appear in a person that must remain immobilized for a long time for whatever reason.

There are four types of bedsores, their classification depends on their appearance and depth:

  • Grade I. These appear about two hours after the beginning of the pressure. It’s a type of erythema (skin redness) that doesn’t go away easily.
  • Grade II. This one involves both the dermis and the epidermis and looks like a blister or a laceration.
  • Grade III. This category involves the dermis, epidermis, and subcutaneous tissue There’s drainage of a serous purulent fluid when infected.
  • Grade IV. This one involves the muscle, bones, cartilage, and viscera and dead tissue is often visible to the naked eye.

Caring for bedsores

A couple medical professionals with a patient.
In order to avoid complications from pressure ulcers, caregivers must keep a patient’s skin clean and dry.

The most important mode of prevention is checking a patient’s skin frequently, at least once a day. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in any area of the skin where there’s erythema or redness. The typical areas of pressure are the back, buttocks, heels, back of the head, and elbows.

The skin must always be cleaned with a soft sponge or a clean textile and properly dried. Clean any area where there’s dirt. Also, be sure to use soaps that don’t irritate the skin along with warm water. Don’t use alcohol.

You must apply moisturizing creams regularly and wait for the skin to absorb them. Also, use bedding made of natural fabrics and dry clean clothes. Similarly, use padded or protective dressings in any pressure areas.

Additional advice about caring for bedsores

Properly caring for bedsores is important for a person who’s bedridden for a long time and dependent on others to move them. You need to move them in order to change their position every two or three hours. Move them every 12 to 30 minutes if they’re sitting up.

It’s important to avoid rubbing the bony protrusions against one another — the knees, the ankles, etc. Use a cushion or some other protective element on those areas or just keep them from touching. Don’t drag a person in order to move them.

It’s important to avoid humidity, so clean the skin without any further delay if there’s sweat, urine, feces, or suppuration. Then, dry it by tapping it and avoid rubbing it. Also, use diapers, catheters, or collectors if there’s incontinence.

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