Caregiver Tips to Prevent and Treat Bedsores

If you are an adult child providing caregiving assistance to a senior parent, you need to be aware of the dangers of bedsores. Preventing bedsores is essential for ensuring your senior loved one stays comfortable and healthy. You also need to understand the basics associated with treating bedsores.

The statistics on bedsores can be alarming. Each year, 2 million people in the United States develop bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. These sores often occur when a senior is confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended period.

What Are Bedsores?

Bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, are a common problem for people who are bedridden or unable to move around. They can develop anywhere on the body that is in contact with a bed or wheelchair for an extended period.

The most common areas for bed sores to develop are the following:

  • Buttocks
  • Heels
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Back of the head

Bedsores are caused by constant pressure on the skin. This pressure disrupts the blood flow to the skin, killing the skin cells and creating an open wound.

The best way to prevent bedsores is to move the person often and to change their position regularly. If someone cannot move, it is important to rotate their body every two hours. Some special mattresses and pillows can help reduce the risk of bedsores.

Specific Information About the Causes of Bedsores

By following the simple tips below, you can help reduce the chances of your loved one developing bedsores:

  • Keep your loved one’s skin clean and dry. This will help reduce the chance of bacteria build-up, which can lead to bedsores.
  • Change their position frequently to avoid pressure on any one spot. This will help distribute the weight evenly and prevent pressure injuries from developing.
  • Use a foam mattress pad or sheepskin pad to reduce friction on their skin. This will help keep their skin from becoming irritated and sore.
  • Apply moisturizer to their skin regularly to keep it hydrated. Keeping the skin hydrated will help prevent it from cracking and becoming infected.
  • If your loved one develops a bedsore, seek medical attention right away. Bedsores can quickly become infected and cause serious health complications if left untreated.

How to Care For Bedsores

As discussed previously, bedsores are a common problem for people who are bedridden or have to stay in one position for a long time, including seniors. As we also noted, bedsores can develop anywhere on the body but are most common on the buttocks, hips, and heels. The best way to prevent bedsores is to move around as much as possible. If you can’t move, ask someone to help you change position every two hours.

If a senior you provide caregiving assistance to already has developed a bedsore, there are a few things you can do to help it heal:

  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Apply a cold compress to the area to reduce swelling.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to help fight infection.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed.

How to Prevent or Treat a Bedsore Infection

Bedsore infections are common for seniors who are bedridden or have limited mobility. When infected, bedsores can be very painful and difficult to heal.

If your senior parent or other loved one develops bedsore, there are a few things you can do to help prevent it from becoming infected:

  1. Keep the area dry. Bathe regularly and change your bedding often to avoid moisture buildup.
  2. Avoid pressure on the area. Try to move around as much as possible.
  3. Keep the area clean. Gently clean the sore with warm water and soap twice a day.
  4. Apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the area as prescribed by your doctor.

If the sore becomes infected, you may need to take antibiotics or other medications to clear up the infection. It is important to seek medical care if you have a bedsore infection, as it can be serious if left untreated.

How Long Do Bedsores Last?

It must be stressed that bedsores can be a very serious medical condition. Bedsores can often take a long time to heal. Depending on the severity of the bedsore, it may take a few days or weeks for the sore to disappear completely. In some cases, however, the sore may never fully heal and require ongoing treatment and care. If you have a bedsore, seek medical attention as soon as possible to get started on the appropriate treatment plan.

Can Bedsores Be Deadly?

Can bedsores be fatal? This certainly is an ominous question. The answer to this query is yes; bedsores can be deadly. This is especially true if they are not treated properly. Bedsores are a common complication for those confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended period. The pressure from the person’s weight can cause the skin to break down and form a sore. If left untreated, these sores can become infected and lead to death.

If bedsore does develop, it needs to be treated immediately. This includes previously discussed steps like cleaning the wound with soap and water, applying a bandage, and taking antibiotics if necessary. If the sore becomes infected and the infection does not clear, it may require surgery or even amputation.

In summary, you need to understand that if your senior develops bedsore, it is a serious medical issue. You cannot take the development of bedsores lightly. When this type of injury occurs at home, you must consult your senior parent’s primary care physician. The need for immediate, comprehensive professional wound care may be necessary.