Pressure sores are a common problem for seniors who spend the majority of their time in a bed or a wheelchair. You may have also heard them called “bedsores.” If your parent is wheelchair or bed bound, knowing what to watch for and how to care for pressure sores can prevent sores from becoming a serious problem.
Pressure Sore Basics
Pressure sores occur when skin is damaged by rubbing or pressure that occurs over a period of time, breaking down the skin. They usually happen on bony areas of the body, like hips, heels, elbows, and the lower part of the back. However, they can also happen between skin folds and where medical equipment presses against the skin. A pressure sore can be as mild as a red, irritated area on the skin to a deep wound that affects the skin and underlying tissues. Pressure sores can be serious since they tend to show up suddenly and heal slowly. In some cases, pressure sores don’t completely heal, which can result in infection.
Causes of Pressure Sores
There are three basic causes of pressure sores:
- Pressure: Pressure is the most common cause of pressure sores. When an area of the body is subjected to constant pressure, the blood flow is restricted. The reduction in blood flow causes the tissues to break down and die because they do not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need.
- Shear: Shear happens when one surface moves in an opposing direction from the other. This might happen when a senior slides down in their bed or chair.
- Friction: Friction is the rubbing of one surface against another. When skin rubs against bedding or clothing, it can become irritated and fragile.
Actions that may lead to pressure sores are:
- Sitting or lying in one position for too long.
- Pulling the senior across beds, chairs, or other surfaces.
- Moist skin, such as from urine or sweat, which makes skin more likely to break down.
Preventing Pressure Sores
Pressure sores are preventable, but it takes being diligent in skin care and in ensuring a senior does not stay in one position for too long. Families may find that hiring a home care provider can relieve the stress of worrying about pressure sores. A home care provider can help the senior to shift positions frequently. They can also help care for the senior’s skin to make certain it remains clean and dry. Some techniques a home care provider may use to prevent pressure sores are:
- Change the senior’s position every two hours if they are in bed or shift weight distribution every 15 minutes in a wheelchair.
- Helping to prevent the senior from slipping downward in a chair.
- Gently washing skin with warm water and soap, and making certain it stays clean and dry.
- Applying a barrier cream to protect the skin.
- Applying moisturizer to prevent the skin from becoming too dry.
Family caregivers and home care providers can prevent infections and complications from pressure sores by keeping a watchful eye for reddened areas of skin or sores. Prompt treatment of sores can keep them from getting worse and help them to heal better.
If you or an aging loved one are interested in home care in Phoenix, AZ, or the surrounding areas, please contact the professional team at Devoted Guardians Home Care. Call today at (800) 699-4781 or (480) 999-3012.
Aaron spent 5 years working for Intel Corporation in Chandler, Arizona right out of college until he ventured off on his own. Aaron has owned and operated successful small businesses for the past 10 years.
Aaron is currently the CEO and owner of Devoted Guardians a Non-Medical In Homecare Agency covering the entire Phoenix valley. Aaron has been CEO since 2012 and running businesses since 2005.