One of the biggest challenges in geriatrics, a branch of medicine dedicated to the elderly, is the problem of pressure ulcers. What are bedsores? Can they be cured? How to care for the skin of a bedridden person?
At present, thanks to the dynamic development of medicine, people are living longer and longer, and diseases that inevitably led to death several decades ago are now being successfully treated. More and more elderly people are living in developed countries and their health problems are a serious problem for modern health care.
What are bedsores, and where are they most common?
Simply put, a pressure sore is an area of necrosis of the skin, subcutaneous tissue and adjacent tissues that occurs because of chronic pressure.
Pressure ulcers are most often formed:
- on the back of the head
- along the spine
- above the sacrum and coccyx
- on heels and ankles
Why exactly in these places? The answer is very simple: they are most oppressed when you lie down. Blood cannot flow to all tissues, and this leads to their hypoxia and, as a result, necrosis.
You probably aren't wondering how your body tissues are nourished on a daily basis do you. It is a constant blood flow that ensures that life-giving oxygen and nutrients are delivered to every cell in your body. Without these substances, your body cannot survive.
If the skin is hypoxic, pressure sores form. They can form surprisingly quickly, so it's important to spot the problem as early as possible and act quickly.
How to assess the severity of pressure ulcers?
The doctor can accurately assess the severity of pressure ulcers and thus prescribe the appropriate treatment by many scales. This is very important as the procedure differs depending on the stage of the problem.
Pressure ulcers - Torrens score. Five stages of pressure ulcers:
- In addition, the stage is the initial stage of the process. The skin turns pale with pressure.
- Stage - at this stage, tissue microcirculation is already disrupted and the skin is red. Blisters, swelling, and pain may appear.
- Stage - covers the entire thickness of the skin, is strongly delimited from healthy skin, and its tissue contains decaying tissue masses or granulation tissue.
- Stage is a progressive process that involves the subcutaneous tissue. Black necrotic tissue masses may be visible.
- Grade is the most advanced stage of pressure ulcers. Not only is the skin affected, but also the adjacent tissues - muscles, tendons, fascia and bones.
How are bedsores treated? Start with ... prevention
There are many treatments for pressure sores, such as silver pressure sore patches and postoperative wound care. It all depends, of course, on the severity of the pressure sores. Therefore, if you are concerned about, for example, chronic redness of the skin or an unhealed wound, see your doctor as soon as possible.
In the case of pressure ulcers, the basis of treatment is not the treatment itself, but prevention, that is, the prevention of the formation of necrosis.
What if a loved one is at risk of developing pressure ulcers?
- Change the position of the person every 2 hours, which will improve the blood supply to the tissues.
- Buy equipment that relieves constant pressure on your skin, such as pressure sore mattresses, polyurethane heel pads, helium pads, or foot support rollers.
- Examine the patient regularly and check for redness and tenderness. Pay special attention to the areas just above the bones!
- Physiotherapy is very important; performing active and passive exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
- Take good care of the patient's skin. Use mild cleansers that will not irritate your skin.
- Make sure the patient's skin is properly lubricated. Here preparations with lanolin are perfect. Remember, dry skin is more likely to be damaged!
- Change your underwear and bedding regularly and make sure they are always breathable and natural.
If, despite the observance of all the rules of prevention, an elderly person still develops bedsores, do not forget to consult a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner the treatment is carried out, the more chances to get rid of the problem.