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Preventing Pressure Ulcers (aka Bed Sores)

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
08/18/11  5:12 PM PST
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When caring for a loved one at home with limited mobility, prevention measures against pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores) are an important part of the daily routine. Most often, pressure ulcers affect people who are in bed or a wheelchair for a prolonged period. Basically, a pressure ulcer is an area of skin that breaks down when constant pressure is placed against it.

The most common areas where ulcers may occur are places on the body where the skin is close to the bone such as the heel, elbow, ankles, shoulders and back of the head. Other affected areas may include the buttocks and hips.

What makes pressure ulcers a challenging condition is the fact that they are usually difficult to heal, especially in the elderly and people with diabetes or circulatory issues. As a rule, it’s much easier to focus on prevention rather than treatment for the well-being and comfort of the patient.

Pressure ulcer prevention tips:

  • Change position every 2 hours (at minimum) to relieve pressure, or sooner if your doctor or pediatrician advises. Create a rotation schedule for the caregiver(s) to follow
  • Try a mattress pad, foam pad, sheepskin or wheelchair seat cushion to reduce pressure
  • Inspect the skin daily and follow proper hygiene to keep skin clean
  • Pay special attention to the areas where pressure ulcers often form. Look for reddened areas that do not turn white when pressed
  • Good nutrition makes a difference. Ensure a well-balanced meal plan with adequate calories for optimal health. Adequate fluid intake is key to maintaining proper hydration

Contact your health care provider if an area of the skin forms an open sore or blister. Once infected, bacteria may spread to the rest of the body and cause serious problems.

Signs of an infected pressure ulcer may include:

  • A foul odor coming from the ulcer
  • Redness and tenderness around the ulcer
  • Warm and swollen skin near the ulcer
  • Fever, weakness and confusion are signs that the infection may have spread to the blood or another part of the body

As with any medical concern, it’s best to consult with your doctor for a thorough review of the condition. If wound care supplies are prescribed, you can count on Shield HealthCare to ship the products you need to manage healthy healing in the comfort of home.

Comments

2 Comments

  1. matthew beltyran
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm PST

    stage 3 ulcer on buttocks what can I do to prevent 10 yrs child with severe brain damage

  2. Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm PST

    Hi Matthew, thank you for your question. We highly recommend you contact your doctor for a thorough review of the child’s condition, and for prevention advice that is specific to your child’s case. Thank you and have a wonderful week!

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