If you’re taking care of a sick and bedridden loved-one, you’ll want to help them avoid the misery of developing bedsores. Sadly, every bedridden patient is susceptible to these sores.
In particular, it’s wise to note these 8 risk factors:
In the elderly, skin is generally thinner and more vulnerable to developing sores. The reduced quality of skin and the blood vessels supplying it, can also mean they are more difficult to heal. If the elderly patient is in a nursing home, this risk factor also increases.
2. In a coma
Since a patient in a coma cannot move without help – and they are also not alert to respond to any feelings of pain and discomfort caused by pressure on their skin – they are more likely to develop bedsores. Similarly, other patients who are alert but still unable to feel pain in certain areas of their bodies, will not be aware if pressure sores are developing or feel the need to change positions in bed.
3. Poor diet
Poor diet leads to the body’s weakened state. In particular, it has been found that diets low in protein, Vitamin C and Zinc, all contribute to the patient being in a high-risk category for developing bedsores.
4. Low weight
It is common for the bedridden to lose weight. If a patient already has low fat and muscle content, their bones are closer to their skin and able to generate more friction while lying in bed. This friction results in bedsores.
A problem with incontinence means the patient has to endure periods of moisture in the lower part of their body. This moisture is something that leads to the break down of the skin – a perfect condition for a bedsore to form.
6. Certain illnesses
Patients who are diabetic or have vascular diseases which affect their circulation, will have problems with their blood-flow reaching certain areas of tissue. This tissue will then be prone to becoming easily damaged.
The nicotine in a cigarette affects circulation and smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the body, affecting the body’s healing abilities.
8. Low mental awareness
Patients with low mental awareness are unlikely to take action against developing bedsores, such as turning themselves or informing a caregiver about areas of pain and discomfort.
If your patient or bedridden loved-one falls into any of these high-risk categories, the best course of prevention is to invest in a low air loss mattress system or alternating pressure mattress. These mattresses inhibit the development of bedsores by turning the patient’s body every few minutes, preventing areas of continuous pressure from developing and by protecting the skin against moisture and damage. If a patient is unaware of their need to change positions in bed, or just unable to, these mattresses eliminate the need for a caregiver to constantly turn their patient.
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