Bedsores: Prevention & Treatment For Your Elderly, Bed-Bound Parent
If you are taking care of your elderly, bed-bound parent in your home, you may be concerned that they could develop bedsores. Below are four tips that you should use every day to prevent these pressure ulcers from developing.
Turn Them On A Strict Two-Hour Schedule
Since bedsores can develop rather quickly, keeping your parent in one position for too long will cause their skin to breakdown. Because of this, you need to develop and implement a strict two-hour turning schedule. This will keep constant pressure off of one area.
When developing your schedule, use a piece of paper or a small poster board to write out the times of the day. Then, write down your parent's position for that time. This will help you keep track of where you need to put your parent, as well as communicate the information to others that are caring for them.
For example, at six in the morning you may put them on their left side. Then at eight, this will make it easier on you to bathe them because they will be positioned on their back. Then two hours later, they will be ready to go on their right side. After another two hours on their back, the schedule will then repeat itself.
Keep Their Heels Off The Bed
The heels of the feet are a prime area for bedsores to start. Even with a strict turning schedule, the heels could still remain in on the bed, leading to the constant pressure that makes the skin breakdown. The best way to avoid this is to keep their heels off of the bed at all times using pillows.
When using pillows to raise the feet, use them longways so that they cushion the entire calf. This will keep them from cutting off your parent's circulation to the lower part of their legs. Place the lower end of the pillow an inch from the top of the heel to keep the pressure from it off of the skin.
Perform Daily Skin Inspections
Every time you bathe your parent in the morning, perform a thorough inspection of their skin. You need to look for the signs of a bedsore that will let you know what stage it is in. If you do see any of these signs, you need to contact your family member's doctor so that treatment can begin right away.
For example, you may see a reddened area that does not turn white when you press down on it. This is an indication that a stage one pressure ulcer has formed. The skin may also feel hard or rough. Treatment should begin right away to keep the skin deteriorating even further.
Once a stage one sore has developed, you need to rewrite your turning schedule to avoid the affected side. So, if the sore has developed on the right hip, avoid turning them on that side.
Usually, their doctor will prescribe an antibiotic barrier cream that needs to be applied every two hours when you turn your parent. One of the creams that can be used is silvadene cream. However, if the doctor prescribes this medication and your parent is allergic to sulfa, ask for another cream since it is related to that antibiotic.
Regularly following the tips above will help keep your loved one from developing bedsores. However, if you find that performing the care is becoming too much for you to handle by yourself, you may want to contact a service that provides at home healthcare. They may be able to send people to your home to assist with taking care of your parent.