It is no secret that all of us will have a limited range of motion as we age. That being said, the chances of us becoming bedridden or wheelchair-bound increase too. The constant pressure against the skin will cause bedsores to form. These sores can be life-threatening if not treated properly, which is why caregivers have to know how to manage them. It is unfortunate that such a phenomenon typically happens to people who already have other health issues that have cost them their mobility. Here are some ways you can prevent and treat bedsores in aging adults.
Reposition Your Loved Ones Frequently
The most common method to prevent bedsores is to frequently reposition your loved ones’ bodies. Repositioning them every two to three hours can help to relieve some pressure on the body to boost circulation. You can also consider using mattresses or bed toppers with alternating airflow to help. Pillows can also be used to reposition your loved ones should they be using regular, gel, or memory foam mattresses or toppers. Do be careful when repositioning them, as their bodies are very fragile as they are.
Ensure Proper Hydration and Nutrition
Foods like fatty fish, citrus fruits, vegetables, and grains can help provide your loved ones with the nutrients needed to strengthen their skin and repair damaged tissues. Ensure that they consume all of the important food groups and it should help them build more tissues in their body. Hydration is also vital for good blood circulation, which affects tissue damage as well. You can consider purchasing an overbed table to help with meal times, as they can be moved closer to your loved one’s bed or chair.
Ensuring that your loved one has good incontinence hygiene will help to prevent bedsores from forming. During changes, be sure to clean and dry the necessary areas. Do apply barrier ointments to protect the skin from breaking down. Always keep the sacral area dry and clean to keep bacteria away from sensitive areas, preventing bacteria growth on sores that have formed.
Depending on the severity and size of the sores, your loved one’s doctor will work together with a wound specialist to customize a plan to prevent the development of the sore. They would also train you on how to properly care for the bedsores. Be observant when helping with the treatment and healing of bedsores, as it can go downhill in just a matter of days.
Barrier creams, gels, or ointments are used for less serious bedsores to prevent skin breakdown. As moisture increases the chances of skin tear, these gels will work well to keep contaminants out, protecting the skin.
Severe bedsores would need to be dressed in breathable gauze, hydrocolloid dressings, and many more. Silver and calcium alginate may also be used together to help the skin heal. Get a nurse to train you on proper dressing removal and treatment application, as doing it wrong can mean serious repercussions.