How can we prevent bedsores?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 20, 2016
Christian asked...

My mom is bedridden, can't move on an alternating air pressure mattress. What else can I do to prevent bedsores at the feet, elbows, and on the ear that her head usually rests on?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

I am glad to hear that you are concerned with preventing the bedsores. It is so difficult after they are started. I would be able to give you more information, if I knew better why she is bedridden. Is this temporary such as traction or letting something heal. Or is she approaching the end of life.

Some people have skin that is more subject to sores.Some skin has more elasticity than others. So good diet is important but may not be possible. If your mother's skin bruises easily or if she gets sores easily, she will need to be moved more often. If a patient is in the hospital, she might be turned every two hours to relieve the pressure, however, at home that is more than can be reasonably provided.

Also, even though your mother is bedridden and unable to move, her skin is very busy.People breathe through the skin as well as the nose and mouth. So the air in the room where your mother is bedridden needs to have air which is fresh and circulating.

Most of all,it is important to be observant looking at the places where pressure is most likely. You mention the ear, the foot, and the elbow. In addition to moving her as often as possible, she might enjoy a thin pillow with a small piece of sheepskin. For the feet,many people use soft socks. But the feet still rub against the sock, so you have to watch that closely. You might experiment with different textures and thickness. For the elbows, sheepskin may help.

Is your dear mother living with you? Do you have people to help you with her care? You can google preventing bedsores. So much is written about how to prevent them----the real challenge is how to accomplish what needs to be done without hurting yourself. It would be wonderful if you could get a consultation from a Geriatric Care Manager or Visiting Nurse to help you work out the best ways to protect you from exhaustion and your mother from bed sores.