Bed Sores in Home Care Settings: Elderly Care Focus & 5 Treatment Tips

patient lying on hospital bed

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Bed sores, otherwise called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, is an important concern among old people in home care and hospital settings living with limited mobility, as well as other age groups with limited range of motion. These painful and often severe sores are not only a physical burden but also indicators of the state of quality of care the patient is receiving.  When taking care of an elderly individual – be it a parent or another family member, at home or hospital – knowing the causes, prevention strategies, as well as treatment options for bedsores, can lead to better health & living standards.

But, what causes them to develop in home care settings & beyond?

Bed sores refer to injuries of the skin and underlying tissue mainly due to prolonged contact between the skin and any other surface. They usually develop on body parts where bone is close to the skin such as heels, ankles, hips, and tailbone. At worst, they may extend up to muscle or even bone.

There are several causal factors involved, including:

  • The friction: It results from rubbing of clothes or bedding against thin skin making it more susceptible to injury.

  • Shearing force: It happens when two surfaces slide in divergent directions, like falling off from a bed, causing the skin to be left behind while tissues underneath it will move, resulting in disruption of both the skin as well as the underlying tissue.

  • Moisture: The skin may be broken down by long-term exposure to sweat mostly under wet clothing or moisture from urine or feces when the patient is not being taken care of in a proper way with regular clothes or diaper change.

elderly skin in the context of home care and nursing services

Why are the elderly home nursing services at special risk for the development of bed sores?! 

The elderly population is by no way the only individuals affected by bed sores, however, they’re the most likely to be affected by them and bear their consequences. This is due to many factors affecting this segment of society including:

  • Reduced mobility: Reduced movement could be caused by several factors including arthritis, stroke, and dementia among other factors that are mainly observed in the senior population.

  • Fragile Skin: As we grow old our skin becomes thinner making it vulnerable to damage because it’s also less elastic than it used to be due to loss of collagen and other structural proteins as the human body ages.

  • Chronic diseases: Vascular problems such as diabetes may affect blood flow to the skin, among other organs, hence slowing down the healing and recovery process.

  • Nutritional inadequacies: Inadequate nutrients may weaken the body’s ability to repair tissue injuries besides weakening its own defense (immune) system thus increasing susceptibility to infections.

How do bed sores progress? how to recognize early signs of bed sores in a home care setting?!

  • Stage 1: The area has no broken skin but might have a reddened appearance that does not turn pale (blanch) when touched. There could be pain at this point if compared with surrounding tissues since firmness can be noted and even feel hot or cold.

  • Stage 2: This is when there’s partial thickness loss of the skin involving the epidermis, dermis or both. This sore may look like a shallow, open ulcer with a red-pink wound bed.

  • Stage 3: Here full thickness loss of the skin occurs and may expose some fat tissue. The sore can be shaped almost like a crater.

  • Stage IV: A hole in which there is no more flesh left but bones, muscles, or tendons are visible. These deep sores frequently have large amount of necrotic tissues and if it becomes infected this process can be life threatening.

a doctor cleaning his hands about to do some cleaning of a patient’s bed in a home car facility.

But how to prevent bed sores from happening in the first place?

  1. Regular Turns: Moving patients around relieves the strain on pressure points. This routine is especially important for those confined to bed or are wheel chair bound.
  2. Supporting surface: For those confined in bed for prolonged periods, due to illness or otherwise, using specialized mattresses, cushions, and pads that decrease pressures on vulnerable areas of the body is of vital importance in reducing the probability of them developing bed sores.
  3. Skin hygiene: Cleaning the skin with a gentle soap daily and drying it after help keep the integrity of the skin;  moisturizers are also helpful
  4. Nutrition: Your diet has a significant impact on all the organs of your body, including the largest one – the skin. Ensuring that the skin has all the nutrients it needs so it can regenerate by eating balanced meals rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins forms the cornerstone of bedsore care as a patient who isn’t receiving proper nutrition, such as one lacking in protein and vitamins, is unlikely to recover fast or fully enough.
  5. Hydration: Keeping the patient hydrated is essential for proper blood circulation and the skin’s integrity. A dry skin tends to crack and that will hinder wound healing and recovery. Making sure the patient is drinking enough water and moisturizing the skin to help lock in water content will go a long way in aiding recovery.
  6. Mobility Aids: Encouraging the patient to move as much as possible will help reduce the ulcer-inducing pressure and is also good for the patient psychological well-being; mobility aids can be used when necessary.

How can home nursing services in Dubai help in bed sore treatment- and prevention?

nutritional supplements vital for skin health in the context of elderly care services

At JPR Home Health Care we’re committed to providing the best home nursing services in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Al ain, including the best elderly care service in the UAE. Our licensed nurses and other clinical care providers have specialized knowledge of how to care for patients with bed sores.

Once bed sores develop, prompt and appropriate treatment is essential, the following is recommended, all of which are services provided by our home care team:

  • Reducing Pressure: Always changing the position of the patient and usage of pressure-relieving,  devices like specialized mattresses, will immensely reduce their risk of developing pressure sores.

  • Cleaning the Wound: The sore should be cleaned throughly using Iodine, alcohol or other suitable disinfectants in order to prevent infections from developing. This may also include rinsing with saline solution or changing dressings.
  • Removing Damaged Tissue: Debridement, which involves the removal of dead or infected tissue, is done to enhance recovery usually by a trained medical practitioner like a doctor or nurse, like JPR Home Health Care’s DHA-licensed nurses and doctors.

  • Medications: You’re doctor or healthcare provider might prescribe antibiotics, both oral and/or topical, for the treatment or prevention of infections and also drugs for pain management.

  • Surgical Intervention: Surgery might become necessary in severe cases to remove dead tissues or suture the wound closed.

Bed sores are a very serious health issue among elderly people, especially so among those in a home care environment, but through careful care, like the one our Best elderly care service in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al ain  & Ajman can provide, they can be managed successfully or even avoided altogether.

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