Most people have heard of the term “bedsores.” Within the elder care industry however, they are usually called decubitus ulcers. It is estimated that millions of Americans suffer from bedsores within any given year. Most of these happen to senior citizens, but the cause of these sores is not due to length of a person’s life, but rather due to lack of mobility. Older adults usually get bedsores for many reasons. These reasons range from unhealthy skin, to lack of circulation and healing within a bodily wound. Senior citizens who may be confined to a bed or wheelchair are not as likely to be mobile enough to relieve pressure from their skin. Often, bedsores are caused by substantial pressure between bone and skin mass. The result of poor circulation that stymies blood flow to any area of the skin is usually the death of skin cells. Initial symptoms are that the skin becomes red, and then progresses to become a significant wound, and then an actual absence of skin that may reach to the bone underneath the skin’s surface.
If you are a hospice or senior care worker charged with the care of an elderly (or sick) individual, the best advice that can be given is to give extra care to a patient that is prone to develop these types of sores. Upon being admitted to a senior care environment, a patient should receive a proper evaluation of bedsore risk potential. Ensure that your patient’s skin is cleaned regularly and that skin moisture is managed to appropriate levels. Also, ensure that the patient receives adequate food nutrition, as well as hydration. This will help ensure that the patient’s skin is at a healthy level. Finally, it is important to ensure an optimal sleeping surface for the patient. Elderly individuals especially need to ensure that they are repositioned adequately while they sleep. This can be especially important if self-mobility issues are identified.