Category : Prevention

Pressure Sores: Steps for Preventing Bedsores

Preventing a bedsore is much easier than treating an existing one. However, a bedsore can still develop even when providing appropriate preventative care on a consistent basis. There are well-established protocols and strategies for providing care to patients with a high propensity of developing a bedsore at home, in a hospital or medical facility.

Bedsores (a.k.a. decubitus ulcers; pressure ulcers; pressure sores) are caused by compression of the skin, usually over bony prominences. These areas could include on the ankles, hipbones, tailbone, knees, ankles, elbows, shoulder blades, back of the head and other areas. The compression restricts adequate blood supply to tissue, which can begin to die from lack of oxygen within just a few hours.

Repositioning the individual is a key component to preventing the development of a bedsore. However, position changes need to happen frequently, to minimize any stress on the skin. In addition to repositioning the body to minimize pressure on highly susceptible areas, other effective strategies can help. This includes providing good nutrition and hydration, routine movement when possible, and smoking cessation (quit smoking).

Usually, the patients most susceptible to developing a decubitus ulcer are those challenged with mobility. This could include patients confined to a bed, wheelchair-bound due to a medical condition, paralysis or in a coma.

Steps for the Wheelchair-Bound

Wheelchair-bound individuals need to be repositioned every 15 to 20 minutes. The following steps can help minimize the potential of developing pressure sores on the buttocks, tailbone, ankles, toes, heels or bottoms of the feet. The steps include:

• Shift Weight Frequently – If the individual can shift their weight on their own, it is important to reposition the body every 15 minutes. When assistance is required, repositioning of the body should occur no less than once every hour.

• Raise Up from the Seat – If the individual has sufficient upper body strength they will need to lift themselves up from the seat of the wheelchair. If possible, perform wheelchair push-ups to alleviate pressure on their buttocks and back of the thighs.

• Use a Specialty Wheelchair – Some medical device companies manufacture where chairs with the ability to tilt to alleviate pressure.

• Use Pressure Relieving Cushions – Using a cushion that alleviates pressure will ensure the body remains well-positioned while seated in the wheelchair. Some are air filled, water filled, or fabricated with gel or foam.

Steps for the Bed Bound

Many individuals are confined to a bed for medical reasons. When possible, the patient needs to move about in the bed every 15 to 20 minutes. If self-propelled movement is not possible, assistance is crucial to preventing a bedsore. Consider the following steps:

• Reposition Frequently – The patient’s body should be repositioned every two hours.

• Use Available Medical Devices – Trapeze bars, slide sheets and other devices help lift the patient and reposition the body. These medical devices minimize shearing and friction on the skin which can easily tear tissue or create a pressure sore.

• Use Specialized Mattresses – Utilizing a specialized mattress can alleviate much of the pressure on the back of the body. Some are water filled, air filled, foam or other material. Doctors can write a prescription for a specialized mattress for patients receiving treatment or being cared for at home.

• Properly Adjust the Bed – Hospital beds are designed to elevate the head, to be positioned at an angle of 30 degrees or less to prevent shearing, or pulling skin until it tears.

In addition to repositioning and utilizing special devices, adequate nutrition and hydration are necessary to improve the health of the patient’s skin. Drinking enough liquid throughout the day helps keep the skin hydrated, and a healthy diet will provide necessary protein, minerals, vitamins and calories to support the immune system.

Neglect by Caregivers

Nearly every type of pressure sore is avoidable, especially when the health of the patient is being managed by healthcare providers at home and at a medical facility. When the decubitus ulcer is allowed to progress to advancing stages, it is often an indicator of neglect by the medical staff. Without proper care, a minor pressure ulcer can develop into a life-threatening condition.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 provide a free initial consultation to family members of victims suffering serious bedsores caused by the neglect of others. We can take legal action to stop the negligence immediately, and seek remedy for the damages involved. Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of Illinois elder law, and can offer a variety of legal options on how to best proceed to obtain financial recompense for the suffering your loved one has endured.


$25 Billion Problem: Push Towards Prevention Of Wounds Like Bed Sores

If you or a loved one has ever spent time significant time confined to bed or to a wheel chair, you are probably aware of the problem of bed sores (also know as pressure sores or decubitis ulcers).  You may even know someone that has this disease.  They typically arise from prolonged friction, pressure or […]

Johns Hopkins Study Gives Skin Care Tips for Preventing Bed Sores

According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins University, a daily skin care regimen might be an elderly patient’s best weapon in warding off bed sores. Among the study’s findings, which were published on Johns Hopkins’ Web site, www.johnshopkinsmedicine.com, Johns Hopkins recommends the following preventative steps: –  Inspect all areas, specifically elbows, heels and other […]

Study Gives Suggestions for Treating and Preventing Bed Sores

A study from the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine provides a far-ranging and extensive overview for treating and preventing bed sores (pressure ulcers) in elderly patients. Among the key points of the study: – 95 percent of pressure ulcers occur in the lower part of the body. – The incidence of pressure ulcers is actually […]

Bed Sore Prevention: Staff Must Turn & Reposition Bed-Ridden Patients At Regular Intervals

The underlying mechanics behind the development of bed sores (also called: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) is relatively simple– unrelieved pressure on the body results in restricted blood circulation and consequential lack of nutrients and oxygen to skin and tissue.  When pressure goes unrelieved for extended periods of time, tissue dies and a […]

Will Music Sound The Farewell Tune To Bedsores Acquired At Nursing Homes?

Bedsores are truly a horrific condition impacting nursing home patients in all demographics.  As a lawyer on the front lines of these cases, I am continually dumbfounded by the lack of basic precautions in place at many facilities to prevent these potentially deadly wounds from developing in the first place. After all, it’s not like […]

What can hospitals do to reduce the rate of bed sores in their facilities?

In order for hospitals to reduce the rate of bed sores (also commonly referred to as: pressure ulcers, pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), the facility first must acknowledge that bed sores acquired in a hospital setting are a real problem. Hospital administrators should take note of the program implemented by Texas Arlington Memorial Hospital to […]

What is ‘turning’ and why is it important to prevention of bed sores?

‘Turning’ refers to exactly what it sounds like– turning the patient to prevent the build-up of pressure on the skin that can result in the development of bed sores.  Turning is universally considered to be the most important factor in bed sore prevention.  Yet, despite its universal acceptance, many facilities (hospitals and nursing homes) fail […]

Are incontinent patients at an increased risk for developing bed sores?

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How is ’tissue tolerance’ related to prevention of bed sores?

‘Tissue tolerance’ refers to the ability of the skin and underlying tissue to tolerate exposure to pressure without adverse effects.  Tissue tolerance is done by examining the skin and tissue after the pressure has been been applied and relieved.  After pressure to the area has been relieved, the following assessment should be completed by skilled […]

Why is ‘turning’ so important to prevention of bed sores?

Turning refers to the repositioning of a patient at fixed time intervals– usually at least every two hours or as directed by a physician. Turning is done to ensure adequate blood circulation to the area.  Blood circulation is crucial to reduce the development of bed sores.  Many facilities have incorporated ‘turning charts’ to help staff […]

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Is it mandatory for nursing homes to use pressure relieving mattresses?

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