Effective Tips on How to Prevent Pressure Sores

Have you or a loved one experienced a pressure sore at one point in your life?

Pressure sores is a serious problem not only for those that are living in nursing home, but also for those that are staying at the comfort of their home. This condition needs to be remedied since it can cause serious infection, some of which could be life-threatening.

Defining Pressure Sore

Pressure sores are areas of damages skin that were developed if you stayed in one position for such a long period of time. They usually develop on the areas where your bones are close to your skin – such as your back, ankles, heels, elbows and hips.

Who are at risk of pressure sores?

Those who are bedridden, unable to change their position or use a wheelchair are high risk of developing pressure sores. Since treatment can be long and complex, pressure sore prevention is the better alternative.

How Can I Prevent Getting Bed Sores?

Bed sores can happen to almost anyone, however the likelihood of acquiring this condition increases if you are over 70 years old, have been confined in bed after surgery or due to an illness, obese, having a poor diet, paralyzed, or is suffering from medical condition that affects blood supply.

Did you know that 95% of pressure sores are preventable?

The following tips can help you avoid getting pressure sores.

Perform a regular pressure relief

If you’ve been sitting or lying in one position for a long time, your blood circulation is affected because of the pressure put on some body parts. Performing pressure relief is lifting or moving you to take the pressure off so that blood circulation can go back to normal.

If you’ve been sitting on a wheelchair, perform pressure relief in every 15 to 30 minutes.

One pressure relief that you can do while on a wheelchair is the push-up. This exercise takes off the pressure from your buttocks and boney areas. To do this, loosen or unbuckle your seatbelt and lock your wheels. Lift the buttocks off the cushion using the arm rests. If your wheelchair doesn’t have arm rests, you can press up from the wheels. Extend your arms and lock your elbows. Stay on this position for about 15 seconds.

If you are not able to do pressure relief by yourself, ask the person who’s in charge of taking care of you to create a routine of moving you to relieve pressure from risky areas.

Perform a regular skin inspection

You or your caregiver should check your skin at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and bedtime

What should you look out for?

Check for any changes in color, bruises, and blisters, scraped, dry or cracked skin. Look for any signal of skin breakdown such as swelling, hardness or warmth.

Closely inspect areas that are high risk since the bones are closest to the skin. These are:

coccyx (tailbone)
sacrum (lower back)
ischium (the base of the buttocks, “seat bones”)
heel of the foot
elbow (from leaning on it)
back of the head
toes and bony areas of foot

Carefully and regularly check hard to see areas with the use of a mirror. Also check your fingernails and toenails since an ingrown toenail may lead into a sore. As soon as there’s an area that is discolored, stay off it until it goes back to its normal skin color.

Positioning, padding and turning in bed

You should create a turning schedule at night, which varies from every 2-6 hours depending on your weight and skin tolerance. You should lift instead of sliding across the sheets when you turn and move in bed.

For added protection, especially in the bony areas, use pillow and foam pads. Also avoid elevating the head of your head to avoid too much pressure on your lower back areas and buttocks, unless instructed by your doctor otherwise.

Keep your skin dry and clean

Proper hygiene and sanitation is important to avoid possible infections. Take a bath every day using a mild and gentle soap, pat dry afterwards. Pay close attention to skin folds and genital area.

As soon as there’s a leaking of urine or stool, wash and dry the area immediately. Also use moisturizer that has been approved by your healthcare professional to keep your skin moisturized and to avoid breakage.

Having a regular exercise and an active lifestyle is the key to preventing pressure sore. Compounded with proper care and hygiene, you lower your risk of getting bed sores. 

Exercise is key to prevent in bed sores