Bedsores are caused by lack of circulation and blood flow to areas of the body. This most commonly occurs when a patient is bedridden and cannot move around much without assistance. Blood flow is most reduced over bony areas, making these areas more prone to bedsores. Bedsores are sometimes called decubitus, skin ulcers, or pressure sores.
Bedsore Treatment Options
Although the best way to treat bedsores is by taking measures to prevent the skin condition from occurring in the first place, bedsores can be treated and heal in some cases. The first step that must be taken to treat bedsores is to relieve the pressure that is causing the irritation. Repositioning patients is very important, as just two hours of lying in the same position can begin to cause bedsores in sensitive areas.
Bedsore treatment is most effective when bedsores are caught in early stages. Patients with Stage I or II bedsores will usually take a few weeks or months to heal completely, once treatment has begun. Stage III and IV bedsores may be more difficult to treat, and may not properly respond to treatment at all. Further conditions can spring from bedsores left untreated. Infection, cancer, meningitis, and sepsis are just some of the conditions that can begin with untreated bedsores. If these conditions occur, they must be treated as well. The body’s immunity is weakened from the compounding illness, and chances of complete recovery decrease. Patients have died in many cases from illnesses stemming from untreated bedsores.
Removing Causes of Bedsores
Hard beds can put patients at higher risk for developing bedsores. Certain types of beds can be used for patients that are bedridden. Special air mattresses and mattresses that provide weight distribution can provide a softer surface for patients’ bodies, helping to prevent bedsores. If these beds are not in place, there are gel and foam pads that can be added to existing bedding to help cushion problem areas that are prone to bedsores.
Restoring proper diet and hydration levels is important in treatment of bedsores. A diet rich in zinc and vitamin c will help to boost immunity, helping to prevent or heal bedsores. Staying hydrated will keep skin healthy and resilient. Protein will help keep muscles toned, allowing the patient to assist in movement that will keep bedsores from forming.
Moisture on the body is a contributing factor to development of bedsores. Patients should be kept dry at all times. Hot conditions will make patients sweat, and boost the likelihood of bedsore occurrence, so rooms should be kept cool. Patients that suffer from incontinence are at a higher risk of developing bedsores, special attention must be paid by staff to keep these patients clean and dry.
Eliminate Dead Tissue
Once the causes of bedsores have been taken out of the equation, dead tissue must be eliminated for the bedsore to heal properly. There are few different ways that dead tissue can be removed. Autolytic debridement is how the body breaks down dead tissue. Enzymatic debridement uses enzymes to quickly remove dead tissue. During mechanical debridement, certain techniques are used to help eliminate the dead tissue. Whirlpool baths may soften hard scabs, and irrigation devices may be used to remove tissue. If these techniques are unsuccessful, surgical debridement may be necessary to cut away the tissue.
Keep Healing Bedsores Clean
It is vital to the healing process to keep bedsores clean and covered. Sores that have opened must be thoroughly cleaned with a saline solution to prevent infection. Covering wounds will help to promote healing by keeping skin dry around wound and preventing air and debris from contaminating the site. Foams or gels may be used instead of gauze in cases where the gauze would not stay in place or be effective.
Medications for Bedsore Treatment
Topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to help speed the healing process, especially in cases of infection. If muscle spasms have been a contributing factor in development of bedsore, muscle relaxants may be prescribed to help patients get through the healing process without further injury. In most cases of bedsores, patients will be in a lot of pain, so pain management is necessary for emotional state.
Dealing with Discovery of Bedsores
Bedsores are a sure sign of negligence, and patients should be removed from any situation in which negligence is being allowed to occur. After seeking any needed medical attention, loved ones may want to contact an attorney. An attorney will be able to answer questions about nursing home accountability.
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