George had battled diabetes for decades. At the age of 70, both of his legs were amputated, leaving him bound to a wheelchair. While helping George to change his clothes one day, his son noticed that he had a red spot on the back of his thigh. Over the next couple of days, the red spot developed into a sore. George’s doctor called it a pressure sore, more commonly known as a bedsore. George and his son left the office with a list of instructions to treat the sore and prevent others.
If your aging relative is like George, confined to a wheelchair or bed, understanding what causes bedsores and how to prevent them can keep them healthier and more comfortable.
Bedsores happen because of pressure that is placed on the skin, causing a lack of blood flow to that area.
They are generally caused by three things:
Pressure: The continuous pressure placed on parts of the body the person rests on impedes blood flow. Without blood, the area doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to remain healthy. Usually, pressure causes bedsores on parts of the body that don’t have as much muscle or fat, such as the spine, tailbone, and shoulder blades.
Friction: When fragile skin rubs against the fabric of clothing or other surfaces, a sore may develop. This especially true if the skin is damp from sweat or washing.
Shear: Shear happens when a part of the body moves in the opposite direction of a surface. For example, a person who is lying in a bed with the head of the bed elevated can slip down, pulling the skin in one direction while the body moves in another.
Where bedsores are most likely to develop depends on the position the person spends the most time in.
People in wheelchairs are most likely to get bedsores in these areas:
- Shoulder blades.
- Backs of the arms and legs.
People who are confined to bed may get bedsores in these areas:
- The back or sides of the head.
- Shoulder blades.
- Lower back.
- Behind the knees.
How to Prevent Bedsores
The best way to prevent bedsores is to reposition the senior often throughout the day to relieve pressure. It is also important to take proper care of the older adult’s skin by keeping it clean and dry. Inspect the skin every day for signs of a bedsore and take action when signs appear. Making sure the senior receives proper nutrition and drinks enough fluids can also help.
Senior care can help with the prevention of bedsores. Senior care providers are experienced in caring for older adults who are bedridden or wheelchair bound, so they understand the importance of helping them to move frequently. In addition, they know how to move seniors safely, preventing injuries to both your loved one and themselves. Senior care providers can also help to care for skin and apply powders and lotions to prevent sores.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Senior Care Services in Berkeley Heights NJ, please talk to the caring staff at Generations Home Health Care today. Providing Home Care in Somerset, Essex, Union, Morris and Hunterdon Counties. Call us today at (908) 290-0691 or (973) 241-4534.
Latest posts by Susan Myer, RN, BSN, CCRN, CDP (see all)
- Tips on Night Care for Aging Adults - November 19, 2018
- What Causes Bedsores? - November 7, 2018
- Six Precautions to Take When You’re a Long-Distance Caregiver - October 18, 2018