Protection from Bed Sores – Tips from the San Jose In-Home Care Experts at Visiting Angels

August 30th, 2017

bed soresAffecting around one out of every ten seniors, and even more widespread in smokers, in those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, or whose skin is more delicate, bed sores (also known as pressure sores or pressure injuries) are not just very painful – they can rapidly advance to infections that can extend to the bloodstream and even end up to be deadly.

For those with reduced mobility or who are confined to a bed or wheelchair, and those who care for them, the struggle against pressure sores can seem never-ending. Ensuing from a decrease of blood flow when staying in one position for too long, it is vital for those caring for an older loved one to become educated about pressure sore protection. Try some of these guidelines from our San Jose in-home care experts to help protect your loved one’s sensitive skin from these dangerous sores:

  • Frequent Position Changes
    • Every hour if confined to a wheelchair, every two hours if confined to bed
    • Utilize lifting instruments when possible to eliminate friction during repositioning
  • Support
    • Utilize specialized cushions and pads:
      • In between knees and ankles
      • Under calves to protect heels
      • To lie at an angle, protecting hips
  • Skin Care
    • Utilize mild soap and warm (not hot) water and apply moisturizing cream
    • For extremely moist skin, use talcum powder
    • Massage areas prone to pressure sores to enhance circulation
  • Healthy Nutritional and Activity Choices
    • Check with your loved one’s doctor for dietary and supplement recommendations for maximum skin health
    • Ensure good hydration
    • Stop smoking
    • Frequent exercise (as appropriate and per physician’s suggestions)

If, despite taking these precautionary measures, your loved one develops a pressure sore, it will advance through the four stages below:

  • Stage 1: A reddish, blue or purple bruise-like patch on the skin can be noticed, which may be warmer than the surrounding skin and bring about sensations of itching or burning.
  • Stage 2: An open sore appears on the bruise, similar to a blister or abrasion. Discoloration and pain are often part of this stage.
  • Stage 3: As the sore worsens, the surrounding skin darkens and the area is deeper.
  • Stage 4: At this phase, damage occurs to the bone, muscle and/or joints, and osteomyelitis (a dangerous bone infection) or even sepsis (a potentially fatal infection of the blood) can take place.

Be sure to get in touch with your loved one’s physician immediately if a pressure sore is discovered. Visiting Angels can also assist by inspecting skin every day to identify susceptible areas of the skin and detect the early signs of bed sores, as well as provide assistance with ambulation, turning and transferring to decrease the risk of developing sores. We are just a phone call away. Contact us today for more information about our San Jose in home care services at 408-610-9996 or view our other service areas online.

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