Pressure ulcers mostly result from maintaining the same position for a long time. People who are very weak, sick, or unconscious often do not move much which places undue pressure on the parts of their bodies that they are sitting or lying on. Regularly changing position is the best way to prevent pressure ulcers. Special mattresses can help to relieve pressure as well.
What you can do to prevent pressure ulcers
Pressure ulcers mostly heal very slowly, and may easily return so prevention is very important. Noticing which parts of the body are under pressure can help you get suitable relief. Such measures can then be made part of your routine. Try to move as often as possible, even if you are confined to a bed or a wheelchair. However, frequently changing position can be very painful for those with wounds or joint conditions, and also physically demanding for caregivers. So, it’s important to assess how often someone needs to be shifted.
Are diet and skin care significant?
If you are unable to move much, your appetite may diminish. Eating a poor diet and not drinking much can weaken the skin even more. Dietary supplements may not help prevent pressure ulcers. It’s important for the skin to not become too dry or constantly wet as either could cause damage. Regular use of creams or lotions may well not help to prevent pressure ulcers.
Do pressure-relieving mattresses help?
Pressure-relieving mattresses can certainly help to lower the risk of pressure ulcers. There are various types of such mattress that are used in care centres or at home. They mostly offer either especially soft surfaces, or alternating pressure. Special foam mattresses, for example, distribute pressure over a larger area thus reducing pressure on vulnerable parts of the body. Alternating pressure mattresses have separate chambers that are automatically filled with differing volumes of air. The air pressure changes several times an hour to redistribute and relieve pressure. Alternating pressure mattresses are most often used for patients in intensive care who cannot move without assistance. Theses mattresses are available from Forte Health Care.
How can caregivers and family help?
If someone is bedridden, a nursing care plan will be prepared by professionals. It is important for everyone to follow the plan carefully. Caregivers should be immediately informed of any soreness or red skin. Pressure can then be taken off that area of the body before pressure ulcers can develop.