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Bedsores serve as injuries to the skin and underlying tissue. Often referred to as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, these sores tend to appear on areas of the skin that cover bones, including the hips, heels, and tailbone. Individuals with limited mobility that interferes with their ability to change positions remain most at risk of these skin wounds, which may develop in hours or days.
Treatment resolves most bedsores, but not all. Men and women need to know what causes these sores and what the warning signs are. Furthermore, they must know which areas remain most vulnerable and how to prevent them.
Prevent Avoidable Bedsores Stages: Here are Ways
Knowing the stages of bedsores and when to call The Fernandez Firm also remains of great importance, as a person must know where to turn when they find a loved one has bedsores that could have easily been prevented with proper care.
Causes of Bedsores
Bedsores develop when blood flow is interrupted to an area and the skin sustains damage. People often associate bedsores with laying in the same position for extended periods of time. However, they may arise when a person is moved, due to the friction or rubbing that occurs when this transfer takes place. When the body slides against a surface, the skin may pull or slide away from the underlying tissues that support it in a process known as shearing. While pressure remains the most common cause of bedsores, people must remain aware of the other two and recognize who is most vulnerable.
Seniors often develop bedsores because the skin thins as a natural part of the aging process. Men and women with severe mobility issues and those who are paralyzed cannot move themselves to ensure blood flows to all areas of the body. This puts them more at risk of bedsores. Furthermore, anyone who suffers from incontinence may experience bedsores if they aren’t cleaned rapidly due to the excess moisture on the skin.
People ill with a fever may develop bedsores when they perspire and the sweat remains on the skin. Furthermore, certain health conditions put people more at risk of bedsores, such as those with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. However, certain people remain at higher risk, including those who smoke or suffer from bowel or urinary incontinence.
Bedsore Warning Signs
Individuals need to watch for signs of skin breakdown, as this proceeds the development of bedsores. Any areas of skin irritation require immediate treatment. What should people look for at this time?
Any change in skin color suggests the skin is irritated. Pink or red skin in light-skinned individuals and blue or purple skin in those with darker skin tones requires further investigation. If the skin feels excessively warm, inflammation may be to blame. Cool skin signals a lack of blood flow to the area.
When the skin feels boggy or soft or in any way different from the tissue that surrounds it, bedsores may appear. When a person complains that their skin is numb, burns, itches, or tingles in an area at risk of bedsores, carefully monitor the skin in this area.
Blisters and abrasions must be watched carefully to ensure they don’t develop into bedsores. A deep bruise in an at-risk area suggests there is considerable damage under the skin. People often notice this after they fall and believe it is a nasty bruise, but it could develop into a bedsore.
Certain areas remain vulnerable to bedsores. This includes the tailbone and the large bone just above the tailbone. The sides of the hips are at risk as well as the bones of the pelvis where a person sits. Any areas along the back where vertebrae protrude may develop bedsores along with areas of the head that come into contact with a pillow. The heels of the feet and any area that is pressed against a hard surface for long periods may develop bedsores, so no area of the skin can be overlooked.
Preventing Bed Sores
Individuals must monitor the skin of their loved ones who cannot complete this task themselves. Frequent repositioning helps to prevent bedsores, as does protecting vulnerable areas with extra cushioning. Daily skin checks remain essential, and the skin must remain lubricated and free of extra moisture. Finally, ensure the loved one eats a healthy diet, as this helps in the healing process if a sore does develop.
Staging and Treatment of Bedsores
When a loved one develops bedsores, family members and caregivers need to understand the severity of the sores. This determines the right treatment to address the issue and prevent it from worsening. Medical professionals classify pressure ulcers by their appearance.
Stage one pressure ulcers present as a change in the person’s skin temperature, color, sensation, or consistency. The skin remains intact at this time. Immediately relieve the pressure on the sore and clean it gently with mild soap. Follow up with a moisturizing lotion and a barrier cream. This protects the skin from bacterial and fungal infections as well as excess moisture.
Stage two bedsores appear as shallow ulcers with pink tissue or a blood or fluid-filled blister. The fluid remains clear at this stage. Use a saline rinse or healthcare provider-recommended cleanser on these sores. Apply a special gel or cream to the ulcer once or twice a day before covering it with gauze. Closely monitor the blisters and consider covering them with a thin, transparent film to protect them.
Individuals can identify stage three bedsores by the deep ulcer, which may make its way down to subcutaneous fat. Often, the sores come with a thin scab or yellow tissue. These sores often require several treatments. If the ulcer bed remains clean, keep the ulcer base moist, using the same creams applied to stage two wounds. Dead tissue may need to be cut away or doctors may recommend creams to help the tissue dissolve. At times, the ulcer must be packed. Insurance companies often cover durable medical equipment for patients with stage three bedsores, and Medicare Part B covers these items if they are determined to be medically necessary.
Stage four bedsores extend to the bone, muscle, or tendon. They spread beyond the ulcer to the surrounding skin or tunnel into deeper tissues. People often see slough, scab, or dead tissue around these wounds. At this stage, debridement must take place. Once this process is complete, the wound is treated as a stage three bedsore. Experts must monitor the wounds carefully and treat them as needed.
Other Types of Sores
Unstageable bedsores require the removal of the dead tissues. Once the tissues are removed, medical professionals determine if the wound is stage three or stage four and treat it appropriately. Deep tissue injuries come as maroon or purple skin colorations along with changes in sensation, consistency, or temperature. This demonstrates serious injury beneath the skin and requires daily monitoring, as the wound may become a high-stage ulcer rapidly, even with treatment. Pressure must be relieved in the area immediately.
Medical professionals determine the best treatment for a wound. However, decreasing pressure remains essential. When pain remains after the pressure is relieved, seek medical care immediately, as it suggests a deeper problem.
A failure to address bedsores promptly could lead to systemic infections. Furthermore, untreated bedsores may result in permanent damage to the muscles or nerves or threaten the person’s life. Prevention remains key to handling these wounds, and people need to take quick action if one develops. This stops the problem from worsening, which always needs to be the priority.