How to prevent pressure sores
Seniors who are immobilized face a much higher risk of getting pressure sores, also called bedsores.
Seniors who are immobilized face a much higher risk of getting pressure sores, also called bedsores. They are formed by unrelieved pressure against the skin, cutting off blood supply, commonly at bony areas such as the elbow, tailbone, hip, ankle or heel.
Prevention begins with a healthy diet, including protein and lots of water, to maintain strong skin.
Those who are bedridden or who use a wheelchair must be frequently repositioned to relieve pressure — every two hours in bed and hourly or more frequently in a chair.
Avoid prolonged wetness to the skin. Immediately change wet undergarments.
Early-stage pressure sores first appear as white areas on the skin. If pressure is not relieved, the sore will become red and irritated; the skin may feel warm. If untreated, the skin will break away, leaving an open wound, often leading to infection.
For those at risk, their skin should be inspected daily by a family member or caregiver, who should undress them if necessary to look for blanching, redness or breaks in the skin. They need to avoid lying or sitting on the discolored skin until it returns to normal.
Ask caregivers to check the skin daily and note its condition in medical charts.
Do not use harsh soaps or those containing alcohol, which dry out the skin. After washing, pat it dry with a towel, avoiding any brisk rubbing. Apply skin moisturizer daily.
If in doubt, seek immediate care. Pressure sores can advance quickly, making them difficult to remedy.
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.