Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are a common concern for any patient who is confined to a sitting or laying position for the majority of the day. Typically, bedsores appear on a patient’s tailbone, hips, shoulder blades, elbows, and heels since these areas tend to have thinner skin and less fat to reduce the effects of too much pressure. Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to minimize the risk of bedsores and their complications.
Make Position Changes a Priority
When a senior is bedridden or in a wheelchair, frequent position changes are one of the best defenses they can use against bedsores. Those who are capable of moving independently should have a timer placed nearby to let them know when to change positions. Seniors who need assistance should have an at-home caregiver visit them on a regular schedule. For bedridden patients, position changes should occur every two hours. Those in wheelchairs should shift their weight every half hour.
In addition to pressure, bedsores can be caused by a senior’s fragile skin rubbing against their other body parts or on the bed sheets. El Dorado County elder care agencies suggest caregivers practice careful lifting when transferring a senior from one place to another. Sometimes, using the sheet to lift them is effective for avoiding a sliding motion that could injure skin and start a bedsore.
Know the Early Signs
Bedsores often develop slowly, and many can be stopped before they progress by eliminating the cause. Caregivers should check regularly for signs of a developing sore such as red skin that may be hard, flaky, or have a bruised appearance. When the sore is in its early stages, care should be taken to avoid pressure on that area until it is gone. Naturally, any sores that are open wounds or showing signs of infection should be promptly treated.
Keep Circulation Flowing
When a person is confined to a bed, the prospect of exercise can be overwhelming. Yet, even the simplest of movements can aid in bedsore prevention. Seniors can do short arm raises by picking their arms up as high as they can and holding them there for several seconds. Caregivers can also help seniors stretch their arms and legs so that they skin receives the blood flow it requires to stay healthy.
Being the primary caregiver for an elderly relative can be challenging, especially when he or she is confined to the bed or wheelchair due to illness or injury. Find the additional help you both need and deserve by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our respite caregivers in El Dorado County provide primary caregivers relief while ensuring seniors remain safe and comfortable at home. To learn more, call (916) 358-3801 and request a free in-home consultation with a friendly Care Manager.