Bed sores or pressure ulcers are common in palliative settings when patients spend long periods of time in one position. These sores can be painful and difficult to treat, but with proper care, they can be prevented.
Prevention is Key
One of the most important steps in preventing bed sores is ensuring that patients are repositioned frequently. This helps to relieve pressure on any specific area and allows for more even distribution of weight. In addition to repositioning, it’s also crucial to keep the patient clean and dry.
A healthy diet rich in protein, vitamins C and E, and zinc can also help prevent bed sores by strengthening the skin. Patients who are immobile should have specialized mattresses or cushions that redistribute pressure points.
If a patient develops a bed sore, prompt treatment is essential. Treatment options include cleaning the wound regularly with saline solution or mild soap and water and using dressings made from special materials that promote healing such as hydrocolloids or foam dressings.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove dead tissue or repair damage caused by the wound. Additionally, pain management strategies should be used as needed.
Caring for Bed Sores at Home
After leaving a palliative setting with a new wound like bed sore it’s important to know how you can continue caring for your loved one at home along with your healthcare team.. Skin protection strategies like keeping skin clean and dry whilst avoiding friction are tips we recommend.
You may consider an alternating air mattress which uses air cells within mattress layers rather than using foam which puts more pressure on one point without giving away.
It’s recommended not to use over-the-counter ointments without consulting your health care professional first since certain ingredients might cause skin irritation.
Proper prevention and prompt treatment is the key to managing bed sores in a palliative setting. By keeping patients clean and dry, repositioning them frequently, and using specialized cushions or mattresses, we can prevent bed sores from developing. If a sore does develop then cleaning the wound regularly and using a dressing that promotes healing along with other strategies can help manage it.
Remember that proper treatment of bed sores can help to minimize pain and prevent infection. With good care and attention toward prevention, we ensure that any discomfort is minimized for our loved ones who require palliative care.