Limited movement access caused by severe medical conditions which require someone to stay in bed for a long period may cause another health problem known as bedsores. Bedsores, which is also called as pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and its inner tissues that is caused by prolonged pressure when someone stay in bed in similar position for a long period. Bedsores are very common with the people suffering from chronic diabetes and stroke, which make leaving bed is scarcely possible. People using a wheelchair may also develop bedsores as a result of continuous sitting position.
Symptoms of bedsores
Bedsores are classified into several major stages, from the less severe to the chronic one. Less severe bedsores might be able to be healed properly with suitable wound care procedures. However, more chronic bedsores can put the health in risk because of the complications it may cause, such as:
- Organ failure, which is caused by bacterial infection through the open bedsores. The effect is rapid and definitely life-threatening, especially if the bacteria attack vital organs.
- Inner skin infection, which usually occurs as a complication of bedsores in diabetic patient. As these patients suffer from nerve damage, the might not notice severe pains occurring as the skin wounded. Eventually, the damage reaches the soft tissues, causing cellulitis, which may lead to a life-threatening complication.
- Cancer, which occurs as a complication of last-stage pressure ulcer or bedsores. This cancer—the squamous cell carcinoma is aggressive and spreads rapidly.
Seeing those major complications bedsores might trigger, it is important to scrutinize its initial symptoms which may occur after the patient spends a long period bed resting. Some symptoms to observe are as follow:
- The affected wound site might undergo discoloration.
- The wound site might be tender, firm, painful, warm, or soft compared to the surrounding skin.
- There might be some fluids trapped beneath the affected skin.
- The bottom of the wound might be yellow as a result of dead tissues.
- In more severe cases, the wound might be exposed, making the inner tissues visible. When this is untreated, bones and tendons might be exposed.
Wound care treatment for bedsores
To prevent bedsores from occurring, proper wound care treatment should be done. This will also minimize the effect of this pressure ulcer on the patient’s body, so that the problem will not go to its more severe stage. Some methods of proper bedsore wound care include:
Cleaning the wound
This is essential to be done if the wound is in early stage, so that it won’t develop into more severe one. Clean the wound with water and mild soap before patting it dry. Saline solution is also a good wound cleanser which inhibits infection. After patting the wound dry, make sure the patient undergo repositioning, which is important to shift body weight and prevent worsened bedsores. In the wheelchair, reposition the patient every 15 minutes, while in bed, every 2 hours.
Applying antibiotic ointment onto the wound site
This is essential for killing bacteria which can be infesting the wound site. With more severe bedsores, oral antibiotics might be prescribed and have to be taken regularly.
Putting on dressing
Dressing, which is applied after anti-biotic ointment is applied has the function of providing moist environment to the wound, which is important for new cell growth. Since bedsores are closely related to body weight and positioning, wound dressing which is not going to snuggle is important. Gauzes, films, gels, or foams are among those to be chosen.
This wound care procedure is important if bedsores have reached worsened stage, in which dead tissues are found. Similar to debridement done to some other kind of open wounds, debridement in bedsores can be done through some procedures, including surgical, mechanical, or enzymatic debridement.
Bedsore wound can be very painful, as it usually occurs on the body parts supporting the entire body weight when we are lying down or sitting. With severe wounds, anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers, such as ones containing ibuprofen might be essential. Take prescribed ibuprofen after debridement, wound dressing, or repositioning to reduce the pain which may occur.