Bedsore Prevention

Bedsores (also called pressure sores) don't occur only in people confined to bed. They can occur in people who sit or lie in the same position for more than a couple of hours a day.
Pressure sores develop over weight-bearing parts of the body, especially where bones are just under the skin. These areas include the hips, shoulder blades, tailbone and heels. Some people may develop pressure sores after just a few hours of constant pressure on an area.
A pressure sore begins as a reddened, sensitive patch of skin. If untreated, it progresses to an open sore (ulcer). It may or may not cause pain. Pressure sores require medical treatment but still take a long time to heal. For this reason, prevention is key.

Here are some tips for preventing pressure sores.

• If a person can move without help, he or she should shift position or get up and walk around at least every two hours.
• If a person can't move without help, shift his or her position at least every two hours.
• Reduce sedation or sedative medications to make it easier for the person to move around more.
• Use cushions or foam wedges to distribute the person's weight in a bed or chair. You usually need a prescription for cushions customized to reduce pressure to the skin.
• Use a special mattress that helps reduce pressure on the skin. These mattresses redistribute weight off pressure points and place it throughout the body.
• If possible maintain continence and reduce moisture. People who have fecal or urinary incontinence are at increased risk of pressure sores. Frequent trips to the bathroom can help limit this problem.