How To Reduce Bedsores At Your Senior Care Facility

Posted on: 5 March 2015

Seniors in senior care facilities are often at risk for suffering from bedsores. Unfortunately, seniors who are immobile or have a severely restricted range of motion are at the most risk for bedsores. That's why it's important for nurses, doctors and senior care staff to understand the best methods to prevent bedsores before they became a real danger. Here is information on how bedsores form and what you can do to fight them.

About Bedsores

Bedsores appear when blood flow is interrupted to a specific area of the body. They usually form on the skin in bony areas where there is little fat and muscle, such as elbows, knees, buttocks, shoulders, the tailbone, and hips. Bedsores can quickly develop if a senior is left immobile for even half a day. Once circulation is impeded or cut off from an area of a body due to pressure and compression, the skin begins to die.

Bedsores often start with a small cut or tear, but can also develop due to constant friction or due to fragile skin being stretched in one direction for an extended period of time, such as when a senior is slouching in a chair over a long period of time.

Bedsore Risks

Bedsores usually form when a senior is left to lie on a bed, wheelchair or other piece of furniture, and can start forming in a matter of hours. It's important to understand that many seniors are at high risk for developing bedsores. Seniors with dementia, nutritional deficiencies, paralysis, poor circulation, and arthritis may either be unable to move or suffer severe pain when they do move. Without intervention, they may lie in one position indefinitely.

Diabetics and those suffer from paralysis that have lost feeling in parts of their body, such as their hands and feet, are also at a very high risk of developing bedsores. High-risk seniors need to be watched even more closely than other seniors, and your senior care staff should have a easy to access and visible list of these seniors in a convenient location.

Prevention Methods

You can do much to prevent bedsores from occurring. One of the best ways is to constantly reposition a senior in a bed every two hours, and a senior in a wheelchair every 30 minutes. This may be difficult both due to staffing reasons and for most seniors who don't want to be awakened every two hours or moved if they're already in pain.

That's why it's important to invest in beds that are specifically designed to shift a senior's position automatically, helping prevent bedsores from forming in the first place.

It's also possible to move a senior less, but you should closely monitor and physically examine a senior's body to spot any signs that a bedsore is forming, such as bruised or damaged skin.

Also be sure to offer plenty of foam padding, pillows and guards to help a senior protect delicate areas. For example, you should always put a leg pillow between a senior's knees if they're sleeping on their side in order to reduce friction between kneecaps.

If you see the early signs of a bedsore forming, it's important to immediately reposition a senior, apply hypoallergenic skincare lotions or balms, and file a report about the bedsore condition and location for other senior care staff and doctors. Treating and caring for bedsores in the early stages is extremely important.  Advanced bedsores with severely damaged tissue often require surgery and may even lead to a senior's death due to infection or other complications.

Nursing staff at senior care centers like ComForcare Home Care - Woburn, MA are on the frontline of bedsore prevention. By following these tips, it can go a long way to keeping the seniors in your facility safe and comfortable.