Bed sores are also known as pressure ulcers. They develop from too much pressure on the skin. Bedridden patients are most likely to develop bed sores, since they don’t move as much as active patients do. Bed sores are painful wounds that may lead to infections and other complications.
The most common places for bed sores to develop are the tailbone, heels, elbows, and hips, because there is little fat between the skin and bones in those areas. At Elmwood Hills, we take every precaution to make sure bed sores don’t develop in our bed-confined residents.
Here are five things you can do to prevent bedsores in your loved one:
Change positions often
Changing positions frequently relieves the pressure on the skin. This reduces the risk of your loved one developing a pressure ulcer. It’s best for them to change their position at least every two hours. If they’ve been lying on their right side, help them turn to their back. An hour or two later, they should turn to their left side. Some bed-confined people need help repositioning themselves, so make sure someone is available every couple of hours.
Keep their skin clean and dry
The cleaner Dad is, the less likely he’ll develop a bed sore. Help him keep clean by giving him frequent sponge baths. Wet a washcloth with warm water and gentle soap, and clean him lightly. Make sure to dry him well, since damp skin can also increase the risk of sores. Don’t rub too hard with the towel, since that can irritate his skin as well.
Use lots of pillows
Putting pillows underneath Mom’s tailbone, shoulders, heels and elbows is another very effective way to prevent pressure ulcers. If she’s lying on her side, place a pillow between her knees to keep them from rubbing against each other.
Exercise with your bed-confined loved one
It’s possible to exercise in bed, and doing so will reduce the risk of bed sores. Try helping your loved one with arm lifts: raise his or her arm as high as is comfortable, and hold it for 10 seconds before lowering it. Do the same with the other arm, and repeat several times a day for maximum effect.