Treating Bed Sores
Treatment of bedsores
PROMPT Treatment of bedsores regardless of the grade is ESSENTIAL to preventing further complications.
The key principles of treating pressure ulcers are:
· Reducing pressure on the affected skin
· Caring for wounds
· Controlling pain
· Preventing bedsores and associated infection
The first step in treating a bedsore is reducing the pressure and friction that caused it. Strategies include:
: Re-position the person’s body every one to two hours in bed and every 15 minutes if in a wheelchair. In an unconscious patient or in a patient who is in a coma, the head must be repositioned every 15 minutes to minimize the potential of developing bedsore.
b. Choosing the bedsheets, mattresses, cushions
Special pillows, cushions, mattresses (water- or air-filled) are now available to reduce the pressure. The material of the mattress should be smooth to avoid friction with the skin and the size should be appropriate for the wheelchair or the bed.
Caring for wounds
Cleaning and Dressing Wounds
Care for pressure ulcers depends on how deep the wound is. Generally, cleaning and dressing a wound includes the following:
- Cleaning: If the affected skin is not broken, wash it with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Clean open sores with water or a saltwater (saline) solution each time the dressing is changed.
- Putting on a bandage: A bandage speeds healing by keeping the wound moist. It also creates a barrier against infection and keeps skin around it dry. Bandage choices include films, gauzes, gels, foams, and treated coverings. A combination of dressings may be used.
- Removing damaged tissue: To heal properly, wounds need to be free of damaged, dead, or infected tissue. The doctor or nurse may remove damaged tissue (debride) by gently flushing the wound with water or cutting out the damaged tissue.
The doctor may prescribe pain killers to help relieve the pain
- Keep the skin clean and moisturized. Keep skin lubricated. Broken skin is especially prone to ulceration. The feet and legs are especially prone to dryness. Gently and consistently moisturize the skin to reduce friction and stress.
- Add a barrier cream like Soreze gel to your loved one’s care routine. Soreze works by forming a thin, long-lasting, water repellent, breathable, protective barrier film on the skin that reduces friction and makes skin smooth. Moist skin increases the risk of pressure ulcers because it breaks down more rapidly. If there is no sign of broken skin, apply a barrier ointment to protect against moisture and irritation
- Observe bedsore prone areas and look for signs of infection, such as:
- Foul smell
- If bedsore becomes infected, the person may have to be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.
· Contact the doctor and ask him to check the person if he develops a fever, oozing from bedsore.
Maintain good nutrition
A balanced diet can help improve immunity. Amino acids such as arginine are known for their wound-healing properties. These patients may require twice the normal requirement of protein.
Hypoalbuminaemia (A low serum albumin level) is significantly associated with the occurrence of bedsores as an adequate albumin level is essential for wound healing.
A deficiency of proteins in their diet can adversely affect healing. Good sources of protein include milk, eggs, pulses, and meat.
Greens, beets, red lean meat, lentils, and cereals are all good sources of iron. Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood.
Zinc is an important mineral to maintain healthy immunity and healing. A deficiency of zinc can adversely affect cell regeneration at the wounded site and also epithelialization (covering of wounds). Seafood, meat, milk, eggs, wheat germ, and whole wheat are all good sources of zinc.
Regular inspection of bedsore-prone areas, preventive care, prompt response to signs of bedsore or infection, and good nutrition are crucial for keeping immobile patients away from bedsore and its complications.