Bed sores, often referred to as pressure ulcers, are uncomfortable skin wounds that can appear when a person is bedridden or sat in one position for a long time. It's crucial to follow these precautions to avoid developing bed sores:
1. Try to switch positions every two hours, or as instructed by a healthcare professional, to avoid pressure on any one part of the skin. Simply shifting your weight from one side to the other or spending a few minutes sitting up in bed can accomplish this.
2. Utilize specialized bedding and cushions: Foam or air-filled mattresses, for example, can assist to relieve pressure on the skin and ward off bed sores.
3. Maintaining clean, dry skin is important, especially in areas that are vulnerable to bed sores. To prevent irritation, wash the skin gently with soap and pat it dry gently.
4. Exercise as much as you can: To promote blood flow and prevent bed sores while confined to a bed, try to walk around and stretch as much as you can.
5. Maintain a clean, healthy diet and drink your daily requirement of water to help keep yours or your patient's immune system in top shape.
6. If your patient and/or loved one is fully paralyzed and wears adult diapers, PLEASE ensure that ANYONE that's changing them is wearing gloves and has short, neatly-trimmed nails. On two different occasions, my father was scratched on his bottom, both times resulting in stage 1 & stage 2 bed sores.
7. When turning a fully-paralyzed patient, use an under pad to assist with a shift or a flip. Be very gentle near a patient's backside, as to accidentally pull or split the skin by the tailbone. It's a very sensitive and thin layer of skin indeed. Protect it at all costs. The best shift or turn for changing is done with the patient laying flat, with the opposite leg bent at the knee, using their leg and the middle of their back to ensure a safe, gentle transition to their side.
These easy steps will help you avoid bed sores while also ensuring your or a loved one's comfort and wellbeing.
*PLEASE DO NOT TAKE A BED SORE LIGHTLY!
In the 10 years+ that I've taken care of my fully-paralyzed parent, I went through A LOT of trial and error to help heal and/or prevent bed sores for my loved one. I purchased a plethora of special bandages, gauze, creams, natural remedies, and the list goes on. I have a couple of recommended products and techniques that I can confirm helped prevent bed sores for my dad. I will include some of the Amazon links to these products that I've had proven success with a brief description below. My bedsore treatment recommendations along with prevention techniques will follow shortly in another article.
Prevail Breezers Incontinence Briefs, Ultimate Absorbency- I purchased tons of diaper brands before we finally found the perfect one. This diaper has great absorbency, comfortable for my paralyzed father, and prevents leaks very well. The pricing is fair and my dad had no complaints whatsoever. 3-4 diaper changes a day.
Parent's Choice Unscented Baby Wipes- 1200 count- Ordered these by the boatload after looking for quality, affordable wipes for my dad. These are by far the best for the money. These are sold by Walmart. Order in bulk to ensure the best price.
McKesson Ultra Underpads- Great at keeping sheets and mattress dry. I've utilized this brand for about 10 years now. Other underpads failed to get the job done, resulting in excessive washes to my father's bedding.
Heel Cushion Protectors to help prevent pressure ulcers on feet- My dad loved these. I put these on his feet a bedtime and random times of each day. Very comfortable, built to last, and helped keep his feet healthy.
Disposable Gloves- Great gloves for one time use for incontinence and feeding tube dressing changes.
Medline Remedy Olivamine Calazime Skin Protectant Paste Cream- I applied this cream lightly in sensitive areas after changing my dad. This helped keep his skin protected and healthy.
Balmex Adult Care Rash Cream- Another valuable rash cream to help keep sensitive areas clean and dry after changing.
In my next article, I'll dive more into bedsore treatment products, natural remedies, and tips and tricks that have been a huge help in combating bedsores in patients with severely limited to no mobility. Rest assured, I got your back!