Caring for a loved one with bedsores
The sensitive nature of a person’s skin and immobility due to chronic illnesses is essential. Your loved ones are susceptible to bedsores. The disease takes a toll on one’s health as age advances. Bedsores begin to shape up as standard—bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. And are common in loved ones who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair.
These sores 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 the bed or wheelchair. Constant pressure causes a significant reduction of blood supply to a particular area, causing bedsores. Here are some caregiving books that can help as well.
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 are 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 challenging 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.
Given the severity of bedsores and the intensive damage they can cause. The caregivers must keep a close watch on those patients who are bedridden. This would help prevent your loved one from the torture and pain accompanying the condition. When bedsores are not adequately cared for, they become a vital source of infection—only making matters worse for your loved ones. Dealing with this day out and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you as the caregiver.
Practical tips that would help them control, prevent, and treat bedsores in the elderly:
- Immobility is the primary source of bedsores. So, it is wise that the elderly patient change position every 2 hours. But this is not possible when the patient has met with an accident. Or are they recovering from surgery or some other major illness? Therefore, the patient should not stay in the same position for more than 2 – 4 hours.
- The areas where bedsores are most likely to develop should be dry and free from moisture. Apply any topical applications that would prevent the development of bedsores.
- Change diapers as often as necessary.
- The elderly should avoid unnecessary friction, which would otherwise favor the development of sores.
- Hydration is a must, and the elderly should take in enough amounts of liquids.
- For the elderly with diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels becomes necessary. And so, conducting regular blood tests to check sugar levels is a must.
- The elderly should not lie on their back for long. However, if they insist on doing so, put a pillow under the calves to elevate the ankles.
- While lying sideways, avoid direct contact of the hip bone with the bed for long durations. Place a pillow underneath, so the fleshy part connects with the mattress, not the hip bone.
- Caregivers can get uniquely designed bed sores cushions and mattresses for elderly patients.
- Malnutrition is one of the major culprits of bedsores. So, giving nutritious food to the elderly becomes a necessity. In addition, give them all the nutrients necessary for skin health, which includes vitamins A, C, E, zinc, and iron. Suppose all these precautions fail to prevent the development of bedsores. Then the initiation of early treatment is the best course of action. Your loved one is most at risk of bedsores with medical conditions that limit their ability to change positions or cause them to spend most of their time in a bed or chair.
Tips can for getting rid of bed sores at the earliest
Bedsores are caused by pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin. Limited movement can make skin vulnerable to damage and lead to the development of bedsores. Your risk of developing bedsores is higher if you have difficulty moving and can’t change position easily while seated or in bed.
- Clean bedsores at least twice a day with salt water and mild soap. This is essential for ensuring a speedy recovery and preventing the spread of infection.
- Caregivers should also release pressure from the area where bedsores have developed. Frequent shifting positions is a good idea until the sores have healed.
- Skin massages have proven to be beneficial in assisting the process of wound healing. But do not apply direct pressure on the sores themselves.
Taking all these precautions and measures can take care of the elderly with bedsores. A gentle touch, lots of love, and proper treatment can do wonders. And rid the elderly of the agony of bedsores. Bedsores can develop over hours or days. Most sores heal with treatment, but some never heal completely. You can take steps to help prevent bedsores and help them heal. Overseeing this can cause stress because you can’t be in 2 places at one time: taking care of your business and your loved one. Look into hiring some help. This will allow you to get some rest and ensure your loved one is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from redundant business tasks like sending emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can serve you so you can take care of your business and your loved ones.