If your elderly loved one is in a wheelchair, sitting a lot, or in a bed for 8 or more hours every day, they have a higher risk of getting pressure ulcers. These ulcers – also called bed sores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers – often occur in those who have various health conditions. Some of the conditions that these ulcers present themselves in include deep venous thrombosis, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, cancer, surgery patients, high fracture, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, COPD, congestive heart failure, and more.
Risk Assessment for Pressure Ulcers
If you are concerned that your elderly loved one may develop pressure ulcers, you can have a home health care provider assess your loved one’s risk. They will determine if your elderly loved one:
- Is sitting or laying down for 8 or more hours every day (not counting when sleeping)
- Has fecal or urine incontinence
- Has a medical condition that affects them every day
- Currently experiencing pain or redness in certain areas
- Isn’t getting enough nutrient or fluids in their diet
If your elderly loved one is already at high risk of getting pressure ulcers, but they don’t have these ulcers yet, it is important that preventative measures are taken.
Strategies for Preventing Pressure Ulcers
If your elderly loved one is sitting or laying down for 8 or more hours every day (not counting while sleeping), there are things that can be done to prevent pressure ulcers. Some of the things that can be done include the following:
- Helping your elderly loved one to change their position often (moving them around at least every 2 hours)
- Stay on top of skincare for your elderly loved one (especially if they have incontinence of any kind)
- Regularly clean their skin with warm water and mild soap (pat dry gently and use skin products that help to protect the skin)
- Put lotion onto dry skin areas
- Changing your elderly loved one’s clothing and bedding often
- Watch out for things that may irritate your elderly loved one’s skin
- Be sure your elderly loved one drinks at least 64 ounces of water every day
- Get your elderly loved one a pressure-relieving mattress
These are some of the tips to help prevent pressure sores in your elderly loved one.
Now that you know more about pressure sores, you can do everything in your power to help your elderly loved one to prevent these types of sores. Yes, if your elderly loved one sits or lays down a lot throughout the day, preventing these sores can be tough. However, that does not make it impossible.