Bedridden or immobile patients are at risk of developing many different complications, including highly dreaded pressure sores. If developed, they can severely diminish the quality of life of the affected patient. The development of pressure sores also leads to an increase in patient care needed, as well as an increase in medical costs. It is estimated that the cost of treating pressure ulcers range from $9 billion to $12 billion annually.
Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers, develop when patients who are ill and immobile stay in a fixed position for a long period of time. When this happens, blood supply to the skin over the area is reduced. Ultimately, the skin and underlying tissue become damaged and may become infected. This infection may then spread throughout the body, thereby worsening the patient's condition and delaying recovery. Pressure sores typically develop on bony body areas, such as heels, hips, elbows, and more.
One way to prevent pressure ulcers is to ensure that patients are repositioned frequently. The current recommendation is that patients should be repositioned every two hours. In a home setting, accessories can also be used to shift body weight and alleviate pressure around the bony areas, thereby minimizing the risk of developing pressure sores. Some accessories that can be used in a home setting include:
- Feet Elevators: Heels and ankles are highly susceptible to pressure ulcers in immobile patients. Feet elevators serve to keep feet raised up, so that the heels and ankles are not in direct contact with the bed.
- Heel/Elbow Protectors and Heel Pillows: Protectors provide an extra soft padding for the bony joints, thereby minimizing pressure over these areas.
- Alternating Pressure Mattresses: The special mattress offers control over the bubble cells to change pressure to suit the user to prevent soreness and skin breakdown. This mattress relieves pressure on the skin by alternating the pressure every 10 minutes on any portion of the body coming in contact with the bed, providing great comfort for a bedridden patient.
Prevention of pressure sores is essential to the comfort and recovery of an ill patient. At KC Home Medical Supply, we have various accessories that can be used to minimize the risk of pressure sore development. Contact us today to learn more about our products and to find which would best meet your home care needs.