3 Steps to Preventing Bedsores

Would you know a pressure sore if you saw one? As a person spends more time just sitting in a chair or lying on a bed, unable (or forgetting) to move about, the prolonged pressure of the bones against fragile skin increases, cutting off blood supply and risking tissue death, ruptures, and infection. Watch for a reddening spot, especially in places where the bones are naturally close to the skin (such as ankles, hips, and back) or where skin rubs against skin (buttocks).

To prevent:

  • Be sure to rearrange the body every half hour if in a chair, or every two hours in a bed.

  • Gently move vulnerable limbs, and insert or rearrange pillows around the limbs to protect them from rubbing against each other or the sides of a chair or bed.

  • Keep skin clean and dry. A thin layer of petroleum jelly covered by gauze can help to protect an early-stage sore, but if there's open skin, alert a doctor.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio

about 4 years, said...

The caregivers for my Father use Cetaphil on the red spots to prevent them from becoming sores. I have a very nice cushion for his wheelchair that I got from Amazon, and we use it in his recliner as well - it really helps prevent the sores from starting.

almost 5 years, said...

Show pictures -- one of early signs of a pressure sore; one of a pressure sore; one of a pressure sore during healing process when things are going well; and one showing "it is time o seek medical attention." Tll me how to treat a pressure sore.

over 6 years, said...

It is also helpful to get a Gel Pad for the person to sit on. The GelPad allows for air to flow through to prevent bedsores'. If you notice a person (elderly) sitting or lying in one position, change that position every hour. A bedsore will start with redness usually around the coxyx(top of rear cheeks). This is a pressure point for most everyone. However with the elderly their skin thins as they get older and they will break out that much more quicker. If you notice a red sore starting, keep a close eye, make sure that this person is moving around. If in bed roll a bed sheet or pillow so that when you turn them they cant' get back over to the same side. If a bedsore goes unnoticed it can actually break the skin causing infection. If left untreated it can actually get right to the bone and leave a gaping hole which again is very hard to treat. Some use sheepskin as well however I myself have found the GelPad much more effective. Apply an anti-biotic cream to a red spot as soon as it is noticed and be sure that this person is not sitting or lying in the same spot. As a Healthcare Aide I have seen bedsores' that have left a gaping hole and turned cancerous. This is something that really needs treatment right at the onset.