If you provide care for an aging parent or loved one, you’ve likely come to realize that there is a learning curve with caregiving, and that you’re not going to get everything right the first time around. That said, there are some things that all family caregivers should know to ensure the highest possible level of quality care is being provided. One of those things is how to avoid the dreaded bedsores.
Bed sores, also referred to as a decubitus or pressure ulcers, are a common health problem among seniors, particularly for the physically limited or bedridden elderly. While they often first appear as a small rash, if not treated early, they can become much worse within a short period of time. This can lead to very serious complications, including hard-to-treat infections and even death. As a trusted provider of live-in home care in Lincoln, we wanted to offer a bit of information about how to identify bedsores and the importance of seeking treatment early.
Bed sores are caused by unrelieved pressure that results in decreased blood flow to that area of the body. This results in skin breakdown and death of tissue. While advanced age places seniors at risk for the development of bed sores, this is not the only factor. Your aging loved one is at an even higher risk for bed sores if they suffer from limited mobility or certain conditions such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), and dementia. If your aging loved one has any of these conditions, it is important to speak with their primary care physician or Lincoln dementia care specialist to determine what you can do to minimize their risk and promote overall health.
Bed sores are often found on the bony areas of the body which include but are not limited to the elbows, buttocks or “tail bone” area, back of the head, ankles and the heels. The hips are also a frequent site for bed sores. While there are four stages of bed sores, the earliest stage will appear as a persistent area of red skin that may itch or hurt. As bed sores progress, they may be accompanied by a small blister or open sore. Stages 3 and 4 are often accompanied by extreme pain as tissue, muscle, bone and even tendons and joints become destroyed.
If you notice any unusual itching as the result of a skin rash, it is best to consult with your loved one’s doctor. At the very least, they will be able to provide a treatment to help alleviate pain and discomfort if it proves to be something besides bed sores. They will also likely provide tips for how to avoid bedsores in the future which can include but are not limited to:
- Eating a healthy and well balanced diet
- Making sure the senior is hydrated and drinking plenty of water
- Shifting weight regularly if the senior is in a wheelchair or sitting for most of the day
- Repositioning the senior’s body hourly if confined to a bed
Having a highly trained and professional caregiver assist with your caregiving responsibilities is another great way to help prevent bed sores. They may be able to identify something that you overlooked and can act as a valuable resource as you embark on your new journey as a caregiver. For more information about professional caregivers in your area, contact Home Care Assistance, the leading provider of home care in Lincoln. Dial 402-261-5158 to speak directly with a Care Manager and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.