Seniors who have mobility issues, such as those who have recently had a stroke or have broken their hip, as well as those who routinely use a wheelchair are susceptible to bedsores. These skin ulcers happen because of excess pressure on areas of the body where the skin tends to be thinner, such as over the tailbone, hip bones, or elbows.
Diabetics and people with decreased circulation are especially prone to developing bedsores. Here are four tips for home care services to help avoid bedsore development in those they care for:
1. Change Position Frequently
Caregivers should remind their charge to shift positions every 2 hours. If they have been laying on their left side, they should switch to the right or their back. If they have been sitting in a chair, they should get up and walk around if they are able to be ambulatory, even for a short while. This will improve their circulation.
2. Use Cushions
Use cushions, pillows, pads, and beanbag arm rests and back supports to help areas prone to developing bedsores. For example, if someone is confined to a wheelchair, use a special pad to reduce pressure on the tailbone. For side sleepers, place a pillow between their knees. If they spend most of their time in a recliner, consider using arm rest cushions to protect their elbows.
3. Keep Skin Dry
While a senior's skin is often prone to dryness and needs frequent moisturizer, their skin should also be kept free of excess moisture. Too much moisture can lead to yeast, fungal, and other skin infections. Once the skin is compromised, it will make it easier for bedsores to take hold. After bathing, patients or caregivers should thoroughly dry the skin gently with an absorbent towel. Take special care to dry under the arms, the groin, and in-between the toes.
In patients who are incontinent, it is imperative to thoroughly clean the skin in between pad or brief changes. After washing the skin, the caregiver should assist with completely patting the skin dry before redressing.
4. Use Synthetic Fabrics
Choose fabrics such as satin, nylon, or other silky materials for bed linens as well as for lounge clothing and pajamas. Natural fabrics are typically more abrasive than synthetic fabrics, and over time their coarse fibers can irritate the skin. Synthetic fabrics are also better at wicking away moisture than natural fibers are, which will hold it close to the skin.