How To Prevent Bed Sores
The main external causes of bed sores are friction against the skin, heat, and moisture. Additional causes include poor nutrition, poor circulation, lack of oxygen to cells, and acidification of the body.
Bed sores can lead to serious medical problems including infections of the blood or bone. Deep tissue damage or wounds that dig into the bone are late stages of severe bed sores.
Bed sores are difficult to heal once they develop because the patient is confined to bed or chair and continues to apply pressure to the wound.
Bed sores can develop quickly, in as little as a few days when a patient is not properly cared for. Individuals who are bedridden and unable to move or turn themselves in bed are at high risk for developing bed sores and require close monitoring by the home caregiver.
Coconut oil is a friend to delicate skin. It has antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial properties that keep skin safe. It lubricates and nurishes the skin. Use coconut oil anywhere on the body except the eyes.
After you gently wash the wound with natural soap and lukewarm water, apply organic coconut oil to your patient’s skin and gently massage the area in a circular motion to stimulate blood flow. Use the tips of your fingers only and do not press hard on the skin. Gentle massage will bring blood flow to the area and will increase the oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the damaged skin.
If your patient is incontinent, line their underwear with a Poise pad to absorb urine and keep their buttocks drier between changings.
Always offer the patient a urinal or bedpan before putting on clean underwear. And ask them between changings if they need to use a urinal or bedpan. The Poise pad will help to prevent urine leaking on to the sheet beneath. Use Salk washable bed pads between your loved one’s body and the sheet to wick perspiration or urine away from their skin.
The Protection of an Alternating Pressure Pad
An alternating pressure pad is covered with pockets that fill with air and then release the air in alternating rows about every 5 minutes. This pad constantly changes the location of pressure against skin which can save your patient from ever developing bed sores.
Place the alternating pressure pad directly on top of the mattress and then cover with a fitted bottom sheet. The pad comes in 2 versions: one has flaps that extend well beyond the top and bottom of the mattress, and a cheaper version without end flaps. Only purchase the pad with extended flaps which fold under the top and bottom ends of the mattress. This keeps the pad in place so that it will not slide from side to side or slide down from the top of the bed. Because both the alternating pressure pad and the mattress are vinyl, the flaps are a necessity.
An alternating pressure pad is critical to keeping your patient’s skin healthy.
Keep Your Patient Moving
Move your patient every 2 hours minimum. If they are cognizant, tell them why it is necessary to change positions and ask them to help you to move them.
You can turn them from one side to the other or place a foam wedge under their back, hip or shoulder to slightly elevate portions of their body from the mattress. Remember to float their heels when re-positioning them.
The Best Seat Available
Use a Roho cushion under your patient when he is sitting in a wheelchair or chair.
The air-filled chambers evenly distribute the patient’s weight and as he shifts or moves while sitting, the Roho adjusts to the new position. Their technology is called “dry floatation” and is praised by experts in the superior protection provided to the patient.
The cushion has a washable cover available that you need to purchase separately.
Though expensive for a “seat cushion”, the Roho is a high quality product that will last for years.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
If your patient has a Stage 3 or worse bed sore, ask the doctor to prescribe HBOT treatments. HBOT is a Medicare and insurance company approved treatment method for wounds that do not heal easily. If you are denied payment, escalate the claim and consider paying for several HBOT treatments out-of-pocket.
Dr. Julian Whitaker suggests taking a potent multi-nutrient supplement, extra zinc (up to 75mg per day), and the amino acid arginine (2 g three times a day on an empty stomach). He suggests using HBOT as well, explaining that not only does HBOT destroy bacteria but also encourages growth of new blood vessels which speeds recovery.
Smart Supplementation vs. Prescription Drugs
No matter what the ailment, healing always takes place from the inside out. Improve your patient’s chances of rebuilding their health while remaining bed sore free by fortifying their immune system. Supplementing with Vitamin C and Vitamin D3 will improve their health.
Supplement with Nattokinase to improve artery health, reduce blood pressure, increase circulation and eliminate the risk of blood clots.
Supplement with Curcumin to improve overall health.
Proper nutrition, vitamins, supplements, and pure water are all essential to keeping the patient as healthy as possible. Eliminating or replacing prescription drugs with natural products is the best route to take for the long-term health of the patient. It is typical for doctors to prescribe bed-ridden patients with unnecessary and dangerous drugs because that is the “standard protocol” dictated by the pharmaceutical industry.
Ask the patient’s doctor questions about all prescriptions and understand what medical condition the doctor is trying to remedy. Once you have this information, you can research for natural, safe alternatives that are as effective as the prescribed drug.
Protein is Important
How much protein does your patient receive daily?
According to the National Institute of Health, “Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.
You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones.”
We all need protein for life; it is found in every cell in the body. Protein builds and maintains
healthy bones, muscle and skin. Protein is a key component in healing bed sores from the inside out.
Protein is found in nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry, dairy and beans.
It is likely the case that your patient is not able to or does not want to eat whole food meals. Using BioTrust, a high quality protein powder to increase their protein intake once or twice a day can help.
If you want a more on wound care and the importance of protein, read this article.
John Lin, M.D. reports in an article in MedPageToday.com
The AMA is finally waking up to the issue of preventive measures for eliminating bed sores, not to eliminate patient suffering but “It’s a big topic just because of the money,” he said. “We estimate the entire healthcare system spends $11 billion annually to treat pressure ulcers,” he added.
The guidelines are part of a trend of shifting responsibility to hospitals to prevent pressure ulcers, John Lin, MD, a physiatrist specializing in spinal cord injury at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, who was not involved in the guideline development, told MedPage Today.
Getting a pressure ulcer used to be considered an acceptable complication of a hospital or nursing home stay, Lin added. But lawsuits in the last decade against hospitals for failing to prevent the development of ulcers that resulted in sepsis, infection, or osteomyelitis brought prevention to the forefront for clinicians and hospital administrators, he said.
The recommendations are an example of “Medicare’s latest push to minimize costs by trying to minimize iatrogenic or nosocomial complications — decubitus ulcers being one of them,” Lin said.
“The older you are, the worse the hospital is for you,” said Ken Covinsky, a physician and researcher at the University of California, San Francisco division of geriatrics. “A lot of the stuff we do in medicine does more harm than good. And sometimes with the care of older people, less is more.”
Hospital staff often fail to feed older patients properly, get them out of bed enough or control their pain adequately. Providers frequently restrict their movements by tethering them to beds with oxygen tanks and IV poles. Doctors subject them to unnecessary procedures and prescribe redundant or potentially harmful medications. And caregivers deprive them of sleep by placing them in noisy wards or checking vital signs at all hours of the night.
Interrupted sleep, unappetizing food and days in bed may be merely annoying for younger patients, but they can cause lasting damage to older ones. Elderly patients are far different than their younger counterparts