How to Prevent Bedsores with a Little TLC

 

Stages of bedsores|How to Prevent Bedsores with a Little TLC

 

Caring for the elderly with bedsores

The sensitive nature of a persons skin and the immobility due to chronic illnesses.   Elderly patients are susceptible to bedsores.  The disease takes a toll on one’s health as age advances.  Bedsores begin to shape up as a common sore. Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers.  And are common in the elderly who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair.

These sores, which begin to develop in those areas of the body, which are bony with little fat deposits.  like the tailbone, elbows, heels and shoulder blades.   Areas receive constant pressure, due to prolonged contact with either the bed or wheelchair.   Constant pressure causes significant reduction of blood supply to a particular area, causing bedsores.

Bedsores develop in 4 different stages, as explained below:

 

  • Stage 1:  In stage 1, the area under pressure becomes red and swollen and is tender to touch.  If the sores is identified during this stage, they heal without much intervention.
  • Stage 2:  The sore is untreated in the first stage.   These become open sores like abrasions or blisters.  These are pretty painful and are at a high risk of infection.
  • Stage 3:  The sores begin invading the muscle tissues and damage them. Bedsores at this stage are painful and also difficult to treat.
  • Stage 4:  At this stage, sores have caused permanent damage.   To the muscle tissues, joints, tendons, and bones.  The condition can even turn fatal as treatment becomes a challenge.

In view of the severity of bedsores and the intensive damage, they can cause.  It is necessary for the caregivers to keep a close watch on those patients who are bedridden.  This would help prevent the elderly from the torture and pain accompanying the condition. When bedsores are not taken proper care of, they become a strong source of infection.  Only making matters worse for the elderly.

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How Caregivers Use Transfer Aids

 

Aide putting patient in wheelchair|How Caregivers Use Transfer Aids

 

 

Transferring patients to a chair/wheelchair 

It is important to realize, Transfer aids are very important to help your loved ones in a wheelchair.  Another key point, once the patient has adjusted to sitting at the side of the bed, they are ready to transfer to a chair or wheelchair. Indicate the patient’s stronger side. Furthermore, be sure to place the chair or wheelchair parallel to this side so that the patient can assist you with the transfer procedure. As a result, always explain what you are going to do and how your patient can help you. Finally, encourage them to do as much as possible to be as independent as possible. Must be remembered, always keep moving.

Safety Tips: Using the Wheelchair 

  • First, place a chair next to the patient’s stronger side before making the transfer.
  • Then, put footrests out of the way before the patient gets in or out a chair.
  • Also, make sure both wheel brakes are locked into position before the patient gets in or out of the chair.
  • As a result, replace footrests in proper position and assist the patient, as needed, to put feet on footrest after being seated.
  • Another key point, make sure that the patient is in a comfortable and safe sitting position before releasing the wheel brakes.
  • Equally important, release both wheel brakes before attempting to move the chair.
  • By all means, make sure that the patient’s clothing or lap blanket does not trail on the floor or become caught in the wheels.

Person holding on to gait belt|How Caregivers Use Transfer Aids

Transfer or Gait Belt

The first thing to remember, a transfer or gait belt is a belt worn by the patient and used by the caregiver to hold on to the patient during a transfer.  As a result, It is used to help support a weak or unsteady patient to move or walk. Finally, apply the belt before beginning the transfer or before assisting the patient in walking.

Procedure for putting on a gait belt

  1. First, explain what you are going to do.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Secondly, obtain gait belt.
  4. Assist patient to a sitting position on the side of the bed.
  5. Apply belt over clothing and around the waist.  Never apply over bare skin.
  6. Place belt buckles off center in the front or in the back, for the patients’ comfort.
  7. Tighten belt, using buckles; the belt should not be uncomfortable, cause pain, or cause breathing difficulties.
  8. For the female patient, check that their breasts are not caught under the belt.
  9. Finally, prepare the patient for transfer.

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Wonderful Devices for Ambulation

assistive devices for ambulation

 

Man and woman walkingWonderful Devices for Ambulation

Ambulation 

It is important to realize, the term ambulates means “to move the body by walking with or without assistance.” Another key point, once the patient has tolerated sitting in a chair, the next step is to begin to walk. Also, the physical therapist will instruct the patient and caregiver about any special techniques required and will prepare a schedule for daily ambulation. As a result, your role as the home caregiver is to assist their patient, as needed, making sure that the physical therapist’s directions are followed. Sometimes the patient may want to walk longer than the directions allow. Always follow the physical therapist’s directions.

When assisting your patient to walk, follow these general rules:

  • Assist patient in putting on the gait belt, if needed.
  • Assist patient to the standing position, then count to 10 before proceeding.
  • Stand by the patients’ weaker side and slightly behind.
  • Grasp gait belt in back with one hand while placing another hand in front of collarbone on the weaker side.
  • Do not rush the patient; be patient—allow plenty of time.
  • Practice good body mechanics.
  • If the patient becomes tired, wait a few moments before proceeding.
  • Calmly encourage and reassure the patient, as needed.

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Dealing with Negative Emotions from a Caregiver

      Managing Negative Emotions General Guidelines I have been trying to develop some general guidelines for managing negative emotions.  As a result, here is what I have so far. First of all, identify the feeling. Next, ask if it is a healthy feeling. Then, list your options and choose the one that is … Read more

How To Help Our Senior Parents To Be Clean

Caregiver assisting woman with shower|How to help our senior parents to be clean

 

Caregiver assisting woman with shower|How to help our senior parents to be clean

 

   

 

To be Fresh and Clean is a Vital Part of the Day

If you are clean and look good, you feel good.  On occasion, we are unable to perform our daily hygiene, such as brushing our teeth, bathing, shampooing, and skin, nail, foot care.  There are many reasons one would not be able to care for themselves, including the following.

  •  Illness
  •  Pain
  •  No energy or strength
  •  Inability to reach
  •  Anxiety
  •  Fear of getting hurt
  •  Confusion
  •  Forgetting how to perform the task

Remember to encourage the patient to assist as much as possible, according to their abilities and limitations.  Give the patient as much privacy and encouragement as possible, also establish a communication system so that the patient feels comfortable with your assistance.

Flossing

Helps to remove food and other things that will cause decay, gum disease, and bad breath.  It Is done before brushing and usually after every meal, to have clean teeth.

Cleaning the Mouth

Cleaning the mouth, teeth, gums, and tongue is good to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and foul mouth odor.  Brushing your teeth gives your whole mouth a clean and refreshing feeling.  A clean and healthy mouth is very important for good oral hygiene.

Always be observant of the patient’s mouth.  Check the mouth, teeth, gums, and lips for any irritation or sores.  Maintain oral hygiene in the morning, after meals, and at bedtime.

Bathing

Bathing is a very important part of the healing process.  When you are clean, you feel better mentally and physically.  Bathing the body in warm soothing water is beneficial in many ways:

  •  Cleaning the body
  •  Preventing body odor
  •  Soothing aching muscles and joints
  •  Stimulating circulation
  •  Relaxing
  •  Removing stress and tension

The frequency of the bath depends on many things.  If the patient is active and can walk, they will need to bathe daily.  If the patient is bedridden or unconscious, they may require a bed bath, and if the patients are incontinent, they willed to be bathed each time they soil themselves.  All situations are different.  Always, make sure to know if the patient is allergic to any products before using.

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How To Communicate in a Caregiving Crisis

 

Doctor attending to patient|How To Communicate in a Caregiving Crisis

Communication

First of all, communication is an important skill for anyone. It’s especially important as a caregiver. Good communication skills will lay the groundwork for your relationship with your patient to provide the best care possible. Your patient needs to feel that you are having a conversation with them—that you respect them—even if they cannot understand everything you are saying.

Communicating Is More than Speaking and Listening

Second of all, when we think about communicating, two aspects come to mind immediately—speaking and listening. However, when you are going to speak about important topics with your aging patient, it would be wise to think things through carefully on your own before you actually talk with them. Focus on the specifics of what you want to cover.

In addition, what words we choose to use definitely matter when the topics are emotional ones! Don’t rush the conversation to a conclusion because that could prove frustrating to you and your aging patient. As we age, it takes longer to do things, and that includes thinking things over as ideas unfold. Realize the fact going in and don’t try to rush your patient into making decisions. The goal of this communication is maximizing the patient’s independence.

First Encounters

For this reason, learn about your patients’ background by asking questions of their lives. Also, ask the patient how they would like to spend their time, their likes and dislikes, about their family, etc. Try to find the communication method that works best with each individual patient early in your relationship. Always face your patient when you speak and always maintain eye contact; ask what they think would be good solutions.

Never Be Patronizing

Remember, you are talking to an adult, not a child. It is inportant to realize, the patronizing speech will put older adults on the defensive and convey a lack of respect for them. Put yourself in their shoes and think of how you would want to be spoken to in the situation. Look for answers that optimize strengths and compensate for problems. Be aware of the whole situation; many of the issues of aging can be solved by providing the patient with the support they need.

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