• Aging Well Denver

Avoiding Bedsores and The Complications Associated

By Tracy John

Bedsores are hazardous to your health. I have witnessed the devastating effect that small bedsore can cause. They can happen quickly whether you are at home or in the hospital and in the hospital, breakdown tends to appear quickly. The patient is normally sick and not moving as they normally would. Hospital staff has a protocol in place to prevent the formation of bedsores but it is not a fail-safe. Patients often times do not want to comply with the order to turn on their side or resent being woken up to be repositioned. However, if you find yourself or a loved one in this situation - be proactive. Try to comply with the staff and move as much as you can, or encourage the person you're advocating for to cooperate.

What can you do to prevent ulcers from forming? To be honest, as we age the elasticity in our skin and the circulation is not as it once was. As I said before, this makes movement extremely important. One of the best things to prevent bedsores is to change your positions regularly. If you are cooped up in the hospital, or just stuck at home, you can set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you to get up and move. The purpose of changing your position is that it puts less pressure on specific points of your skin. It allows for the circulation of the blood and changes the pressure points on the body with each shift.

Next, here in Colorado, the air is clean and dry and that is exactly how your skin should be. Keeping the skin in this manner will cut back on possible irritation, infection, and breakdown.

Exercising is still important even if you are housebound or confined in a bed you can still move. If you have use of your limbs simply start by lifting them. Holding your arm or leg up for a period such as 20 seconds may not seem important but with time, you will build up endurance and with that comes to muscle development and better circulation.

Take time to check your skin for changes in color, temperature or if an area is painful to touch. The skin around the boney portions like your tailbone, hips, heels, elbows and shoulder blades are particularly vulnerable to break down. If you cannot see these area ask someone to check for you.

The point of preventing pressure sores is because treating them can be difficult. Any open wound is hard to treat. Without proper treatment, the mild discolored skin can turn into a deadly complication such as cellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin that can poison the blood. As the pressure sore changes stages, it traditionally creates a crater in the skin. If left untreated the infection can move into the bone or joint leading to damage to the bone or loss of the limb. At this stage, the infection is very difficult to treat. As we all know, prevention is the key.

Take the time to reduce your risk of developing bedsores. Do the skin checks looking for discoloration, blanching of skin or pain in particular spots. Keep the skin dry and your body hydrated. Exercise regularly and change your positions often. These measures could save your life.