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  • Question: Do you have any tips for preventing bed sores in an elderly patient who is bed bound? We turn him every 2 hours during the day, but cannot do it overnight.
  • Answer:06/15/2001
    Bed sores can result from excessive skin or tissue pressure or shearing of blood vessels. You are correct to be concerned about preventing them; it is far easier than healing them. Propping with pillows is one way to reduce the amount of tissue pressure that can occur on areas where muscle and skin are thin such as the elbows, lower back bone, ankles, knees and the heels. For a side lying position, place pillows between the knees length wise so that the ankles are also separated by the pillow and place another pillow between the arm that is resting on top or to the side of the chest, slightly bending the elbow and elevate the wrist and hand. A small flexible rubber ball or hand rolled wash cloth may be placed in the palm. Pillows may be placed beneath the head/neck, both arms and the knees and feet so that the heels are elevated from the mattress for a back lying position. This position requires care not to leave the pelvis in a downward, dependent position for an extended period of time. Foam mattress may also be used. Lift rather than drag the person across the sheets as dragging can result in shearing of both skin and blood vessels. Another option is one of the specialized air system beds which may be ordered by the physician for those individuals meeting the requirements. Some insurance companies will cover the cost or partial cost of the special bed. Check with your physician about this bed if that is an option to be considered.
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This site is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided at this web site is of a general nature and is not intended to take the place of a physician's advice. We encourage individuals to discuss what they find on this site with their healthcare providers. The answer above was provided by a volunteer, based solely on their experiances and thoughts. These volunteers do not get paid and are not responsible for the accuracy of their responses. IF you disagree with a response, let us know and we will look into it.


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