Bed sores are a localized area of tissue injury that develops when soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and an external surface for a prolonged period of time. The external surface may be a mattress, a chair or wheelchair, or even other parts of the body. The soft tissues of the body, such as skin and muscle, depend upon blood vessels to carry nutrients to the tissues, and to remove waste products. Bed sores result when prolonged pressure prevents sufficient blood flow to supply the tissues with nutrients. The resulting bed sore represents the death of the involved soft tissues.
A bed sore develops when blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. As the skin dies, the bed sore first starts as a red, painful area, which eventually turns purple. Left untreated, the skin can break open and become infected. A bed sore can become deep, extending into the muscle. Once a bed sore develops, it is often very slow to heal. Bed sores often occur in the buttocks area (on the sacrum or iliac crest), or on the heels of the feet.
Prevention and Treatment for Bed Sores
Use pillows or other similar positional products such as foam wedges to support, keep pressure off an area and to encourage different positions.
Avoid massaging skin over bony areas. Change body position at least every 2 hours- more frequently in a chair. Reduce friction ( rubbing) by lifting rather than dragging. Do not use donut shape cushions. These can increase the risk of getting pressure ulcers by reducing blood flow in the areas of contact with the cushion.
Consider pureed or liquid meals. If swallowing is difficult, emphasize soups, pureed foods or nutritional supplement drinks, which provide protein and calories but require little or no preparation. It may be easier for you to drink rather than to eat something.
Pressures sores need to be kept clean and free from dead tissue. A saline solution can be used and a dressing applied. The dressing should be renewed daily unless it is a specialized dressing product, such as a hydrocolloid dressing, or a film dressing.
Eat a balance diet. Proteins and calories are very important for healthy skin. Healthy skin is less liable to be damaged.
Avoid raising the head of the bed more than 30 degrees. A higher incline makes it more likely that you’ll slide down, putting you at risk of friction and shearing injuries. If the bed needs to be higher when you eat, place pillows or foam wedges at your hips and shoulders to help maintain alignment.
Most of the equipment available for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores has not been reliably evaluated, and no `best buy’ can be recommended.
Pressure sore prevalence rates should not be used as a measure of the quality of care; incidence rates may only be used as an indicator of the quality of preventive care if the risk of developing a sore is taken into account.
A light weight, inflatable, readily compactible, inexpensive bed sore treatment and prevention method and apparatus. Two inflatable wedges are held in close approximation to a patient/person by a plurality of straps that each encircle the person and the two wedges to a moderate and readily adjustable degree of snugness. Internal partitions help maintain the shapes of the respective wedges.
The wedges can be used to treat and/or prevent various conditions, such as sleep apnea, snoring, bed sores, etc. The wedges may also be made from foam rubber or the like in which case the inflation is not required.