Thursday, May 13th, 2010 | Author:

Anyone who is bedridden and suffers from Alzheimer’s has 10 vital needs that must be met by his or her caregiver to ensure they remain as healthy as possible:

1.Prevention of skin decay and pressure sores
Bedridden patients must be re-positioned regularly to prevent bedsores from forming.

It is easier to prevent pressure sores than to heal them, thus get the help of an alternating pressure mattress to move the patient regularly, or move him or her yourself at least every two hours, from left to right, to release the pressure in certain body areas.  If you are moving the patient, use pillows to support the position.

A balanced diet and the ingestion of lots of liquid will help keep the bedridden Alzheimer’s patient’s skin healthy.

2.Getting out of bed for some hours every day
Every bedridden patient should leave the bed for a few hours every day.  Now, there is equipment available to help any caregiver get the most severely disabled person into a chair.

Sitting for a while helps relieve pressure spots, especially on the back, shoulder blades, back of the head, and hips.

3.Learning to do passive movements
This is necessary to prevent joints from seizing, and thus, caregivers must learn how to do this.

Passive movements have to do with moving the joints without the patient exerting any effort.

4.Eating and drinking well
It is normal for bedridden patients not wanting to eat or drink, because they usually have poor appetite, find it hard to swallow, are depressed, and feel sick.

A dietician may give you good advice as to how to choose the best diet for a bedridden patient, what food supplement drinks are good, how to liquefy foods, and what feeding aids may help you.

5.Keeping mouth, eyes, ears, and general hygiene levels high
Bedridden patients must be cleaned regularly, especially if they suffer from incontinence.

Do not forget to take care of the mouth and teeth.

Let the patient use glasses or hearing aids until these become uncomfortable or dangerous.

6.Dealing with incontinence
At some point, Alzheimers patients will suffer from urinary and/or fecal incontinence.  The caregiver must train to be able to take care of these episodes in a way that is comfortable for the patient.

There are many products today that help in these situations.

7.Lowering the risk of injury
If the patient tends to fall, put his or her mattress and springs on the floor.

Make sure you use the right support and bed cot sides.  Avoid using restraint unless it is an emergency.

8.    Massaging and touching
Massages soothe and relieve pain.  The caregiver must massage the patient’s arms, hands, and legs with oil or moisturizer.  This will improve the skin’s condition, and will prevent dryness and irritation.

Touching the patient with care is very important to reassure the person that someone cares for him or her.  Comb or stroke their hair with love, and hold their hand while talking to them.

9.Focusing on what they enjoy
A bedridden patient must have regular activities.  Talk to them, show them pictures, play music, or read to them.

Try to maintain the activities you know they loved.

Try to take them outdoors to breathe fresh air and feel the sun on their skin.

10.Giving them a view
Locate their bed near a window with a nice view, but make sure the sun and heat do not hit them directly during the day.

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