Here are the things you need to know about bedsores
BEDSORES – This condition is also called pressure injuries and here are the things you need to know about this.
According to the article from The Healthy, if not properly taken care of, this condition becomes responsible for the death of 60,000 individuals each year. This number continues to increase and this is becoming alarming already. Caregivers or those who are taking care of bedridden patients should know these things.
What are bedsores?
Jerisa Berry, DO, board-certified in emergency medicine in Palm Beach County Florida, co-owner of medical clinic, Vital Care Medical Center, Inc. in Greenacres, Florida, and owner of Home Health Agency, Home Helpers of Palm Beach said, “Bedsores, decubitus or pressure ulcers, begin as inflammation of the skin from prolonged position, which has prevented normal circulation to that localized area of pressure.” The skin essentially dies from poor circulation because of the pressure. When that area reddened that is the warning sign that therapy should be done. “Both physical care and topical creams,” Berry said.
Why is it dangerous?
Pressure injuries that are related to a life-threatening infection called sepsis led to the death of 60,000 patients. “Very dangerous microorganisms can gain access to the blood stream from a pressure wound. Patients can also suffer some severe deformities from these wounds such as amputations of limbs and huge defects in the body after healing,” Bardia Anvar, MD, medical director of Skilled Wound Care explained. The pressure limits mobility and can cause severe pain. Aside from that, it can cause a very foul-smelling and patients may be embarrassed due to this.
How to prevent it?
Caregivers should avoid areas of pressure, especially while the patient is in bed. “One key prevention method is to seek out specialty mattresses like those with foam padding, and make sure that there is extra padding on chairs and wheelchairs. It is also important for the person to maintain healthy diets with adequate protein and carbohydrates and multi-vitamins to supplement their nutritional intake,” Dr. Anvar said.
How can it be treated?
Bedsores can be treated with daily dressing changes and complete offloading from the area of injury if it is clean and not infected. “If the wound is infected or dying tissue (known as necrosis) is detected, then it must be treated with surgical debridement, which is a rapid method of removal (using chemical agents may take longer),” Dr. Anvar said.
How to reduce the risk?
- limit baths to no more than three times per week for no longer than five minutes (lukewarm water and add bath oil)
- do not use washcloths as they can break down the skin
- do not towel dry using swift motions
- softly pat dry and apply moisturizer immediately after bathing and reapply four times each day
- be aware that improper lifting and turning are two of the most common causes of skin tears
- use sheets to help shift the body’s position
- remember that skin-on-skin contact also leaves one vulnerable to tears
- patients wearing long sleeves and stockings can reduce such incidents
How to respond to a bedsore wound?
- do not use hydrogen peroxide or Dakin’s Solution as these products kill healthy tissue and impede the healing process
- use normal saline to clean wounds
- check the wounds daily and measure wounds weekly to track progress
- use proper recommended dressings
- wounds should not be covered with stool or moisture
- make sure that patients are regularly eating nutritionally sound meals
- limit the patient’s stationary time to 30 minutes interval whether in lying in bed or sitting in a chair/wheelchair
When to see a doctor?
“Upon initial diagnosis, pictures should be taken. It is important to notify the agency nurse when bedsore or ulcer has worsened,” Dr. Berry explained. If the patient develops fever or bedsore develops an odor, the caregiver should notify the nurse or doctor immediately. The patient may have come to the point of requiring hospital evaluation in the emergency department, according to the article.