Care Guides for Caregivers
Caring for Pressure Areas on the Body
Post on 03/07/16
A patient who is confined to the bed or a wheelchair is at great risk of developing sores. Once a pressure sore develops, it is difficult to heal.
Hence, it is important that measures be taken to prevent pressure sores from developing.
Causes of pressure sores
- Lying or sitting in the same position for a long time
- Creases in the bedsheet
- Friction when the patient is dragged and not lifted or turned in the correct way
- Poor blood circulation
- Blister formation
- Skin breakdown into a sore
- Sometimes the skin turns purple and a thick black scab forms
Preventing pressure sores
- Find out and remove the cause of the damage to the skin
- Turn patient at least every two hourly
- Select appropriate support surfaces. An alternating air support mattress would be more appropriate for patients who are unable to move by themselves e.g. Alfa-Excel or Nimbus Mattress. Ripple or Spenco mattress would be more appropriate for patients who can turn on their own
- Keep the skin clean and dry at all times. Always have another cloth or sheet beneath the patient to absorb sweat. Do not use diapers. Change the patient when required
- Do not use powder. When wet, powder forms lumps that damage the skin
- Use non-perfumed moisturising cream, barrier cream or baby lotion for massaging the skin
- Do not massage the reddened area. Use a circular motion, starting around the reddened area, and moving outward in ever-widening circles
- Do not drag the patient.; lift him carefully to prevent friction
- Do not place very hot or very cold items on the skin
- If there is swelling in the paralysed limbs, use a cream and massage gently, starting from the hands and feet and massaging towards the body
- Position the patient properly
First aid for skin redness
- Apply hydrocolloid dressing to the reddened area, changing regularly as necessary
- If a blister is present, do not prick or burst it; apply a transparent dressing over the area. These dressings are available in the pharmacies
Once sores develop, seek advice from your doctor or nurse or call the agency providing home nursing services.
- A stroke patient who is confined to the bed or a wheelchair is at risk of developing pressure sores
- Measures must be taken to prevent these from developing
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