Bedsores can lead to serious complications that may result in severe injury and infection. Each nursing home facility should outline a bedsore prevention plan by taking into account various risk factors and injury stages.
The most important elements of bedsore prevention are pre-planning and regular maintenance. A bedsore prevention plan should be aligned with staff scheduling, environmental support and each patient’s individualized needs.
Predict Pressure Ulcer Risk
Every patient should receive a bedsore risk assessment based on the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Ulcer Risk. Caretakers should assess sensory perception, moisture, activity, mobility, nutrition and friction and shear. After the assessment has been performed, nursing home staff should develop a personalized care plan.
Examine Sensitive Areas
Caregivers should regularly inspect skin and tissue. If bedsores have yet to develop, caregivers should be focused on identifying redness, inflammation or other changes in the skin’s color and texture. Look for inflammation, irritation and color/texture changes. Don’t skip the hard-to-reach areas.
Any moisture, whether it’s on bedding, clothing or incontinence support, should be minimized by consistently providing fresh sheets, linens and pads. If left unchanged, persistent wetness may cause infection or friction. A lower staff-to-patient ratio may affect the ability to maintain a bathroom schedule or reduce the amount of times items can be changed.
Maintain Good Hygiene & Comfort
Good hygiene is essential to avoiding bedsores. Caregivers should gently clean skin and lightly dry with a soft towel, avoiding beaded scrubs and soaps that contain alcohol. Rooms should be stocked with comfortable pillows, mattress, cushions and bedding, with support placed under the tailbone, shoulders, heels, and elbows.
Regularly Lift and Reposition
Patients who spend a lot of time in a bed or wheelchair have limited blood flow, so it’s important to regularly stimulate movement by regularly shifting positions. Caregivers should assist with repositioning patients at least once every two hours, using a draw sheet or overhead trapeze. Adjustable beds, wheelchairs and other equipment can assist with regular repositioning.
Promote Exercise and Nutrition
A lack of overall health, specifically regarding diet and exercise, can lead to non-healing wounds. Personalized dietary plans packed with vitamins specific to each patient’s needs can help to promote healthier, stronger skin. Light exercise, such as lifting each arm with the support of aides, can help to stimulate blood flow and allow patients to use a fuller range of motion.
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