If you’ve ever experienced the pain of a bedsore, you know that it is a condition to be avoided at all costs.
Developing a bedsore is a painful, bruise-like experience that can significantly affect a person’s mood, delay their recovery, or represent a health hazard in its own right. Without the right treatment, those confined to bed (or that are otherwise immobile) risk developing bedsores.
Luckily, there are certain medical products and techniques that can help reduce the severity of bedsores or prevent them altogether. When combined with the right preventative measures and coping techniques, something as simple as an electric hospital bed can be extraordinarily beneficial.
What is a Bedsore?
A bedsore is essentially a variety of ulcer, which is an unhealed, open sore located on any external or internal surface of the body.
Bedsores have a variety of names, and are also referred to as:
- Pressure injuries
- Pressure sores
- Pressure ulcers
- Decubitus ulcers
These injuries to the skin (and underlying tissues) are typically the result of prolonged pressure, and most often develop on areas that cover the bony parts of the body, such as on the following areas:
- Side of the knees
- Hips and tailbone (buttocks area)
- Shoulder blades
- Back of the head
If you’ve developed a bedsore, the skin around the painful area may initially look red, feel itchy, or even feel warm to the touch. Ultimately, bedsores can spread deeply into the underlying muscle and bone, and can take anywhere from days to years to properly heal.
How Does a Bedsore Usually Develop?
A bedsore can develop quickly, occurring when the blood supply to a person’s skin is cut off for no more than two to three hours. The skin will begin to die, and if left untreated, a bedsore can turn from a red or purple bruise into a painful, infected wound.
Bedsores usually develop when a person is bedridden or otherwise immobile, but can also occur when someone is unconscious or otherwise unable to sense pain in a normal way.
While bedsores can be made worse by inadequate nutrition or skin care, they usually develop when the person confined to bed or a wheelchair is not periodically turned or positioned correctly.
While bedsores can occur on injured athletes undergoing recovery, they tend to be a more worrisome problem for older adults (particularly those that are largely immobile throughout the day). Those with diabetes, poor nutrition or general circulation problems will also find themselves at higher risk of developing bedsores.
What are the Stages of Bedsore Development?
The negative effects of a bedsore can range from pain and inconvenience all the way to medically dangerous. Bedsores are often categorized as being in any one of four distinct stages:
- STAGE 1: As mentioned above, a bedsore will initially look red and irritated, will feel warm to the touch, and may burn or itch.
- STAGE 2: The bedsore appears more damaged, may have developed into an open sore or blister, pain significantly increases, and the skin around the wound may become further discolored.
- STAGE 3: Because of the damage below the skin's surface, the area may develop a crater-like appearance.
- STAGE 4: Infection becomes a much higher risk, as the area degrades further and a large wound develops. At this point the bedsores can reach into the various surrounding muscle, tendons, bones, and joints.
Anyone who finds themselves confined to a bed for whatever reason should know that without the right approach, the right care, or the right equipment, a bedsore is a real possibility.
How To Treat Bedsores
For wound care, it is always preferable to have an expert tailor their care and recommendations to your specific needs, and base their treatment on the severity of your bedsores as well as the underlying causes. For a truly effective treatment of bedsores, you should always first lean on and trust the advice provided by your healthcare practitioner.
However, from a general standpoint, there are several ways to treat bedsores that have proven to be historically effective.
Removing pressure from the affected area is the first step towards treating a bedsore and reducing or eliminating the negative effects on a person’s quality of life.
This can be done in a number of ways, including the use of an adjustable electric hospital bed, one that allows for easy and frequent turning and repositioning. Other pressure-related techniques involve adding softer padding on affected areas, so having the right kind of mattress for the electric hospital bed is a must.
Skin Care and Nutrition
Once a bedsore has developed, it is important to protect the wound with medical gauze or other wound dressings. By keeping the wound clean and dry, you can both speed recovery and prevent any further tissue deterioration. T
Good skin care-related bedsore treatment also involves good nutrition. By feeding the body enough calories, minerals, fluids and proteins, your body will be equipped with the tools it needs to properly heal. Good skin care and nutrition is especially beneficial when combined with the use of an adjustable electric hospital bed for easy repositioning and pressure relief.
Wound Repair and Medicine
To help bedsores heal properly, it is sometimes necessary to combine both an external and internal approach.
First, by removing any damaged, infected or dead tissue (a process referred to as debridement), or by transplanting healthy skin to the infected area using skin grafts, the exterior aspect of the wound can be treated. From an internal perspective, using the appropriate antibiotics and medicines recommended by your healthcare practitioner is also highly advisable, allowing your body to heal in the most effective way.
Bedsore Prevention is the Key
Bedsores can develop when a person who is unable to leave their bed for long periods of time lies in a certain position for too long.
While treating existing tissue damage is possible using a combination of the techniques and advice described above, prevention is often the best approach.
For those recovering at home or who plan to spend significant time immobile, the purchase of an electric hospital bed can be enormously rewarding and add significantly to quality of life. Why? There are a few central reasons:
Electric Hospital Beds Help Relieve Pressure
Health experts recommend that anyone bedridden should adjust their posture and position every two hours to avoid the development of bedsores.
This is made much easier by the use of electric hospital beds, which play a huge role in patient recovery, offering the kind of adjustable comfort and support that can alleviate everything from bedsores to back pain to sleep problems.
Some companies like Healthcare Solutions provide installation and delivery services when you purchase a bed from them, and if buying a bed is not your preference, you can always rent one if you live in the Edmonton area.
Electric Hospital Beds Speed Up the Healing Process
By allowing a person to elevate and support specific areas of the body, an electric hospital bed can improve the body’s circulation, which is a very important element in the healing process.
Allowing blood to flow freely, unobstructed by the harmful pressure associated with immobility, can help the body heal itself more effectively. Another helpful addition, while a bit more low-tech, is useful all the same: the addition of a high-density foam mattress.
Electric Hospital Beds Provide Independence
Not everyone confined to a bed for much of the day has access to an in-home caregiver or loved one. However, those that do know that frequent assistance is required in order to change positions and avoid the development of pressure sores.
Rather than depending on someone else to move you multiple times a day, you can move yourself with ease with only the touch of a button. While being confined to bed is not ideal, a degree of independence is always helpful, something made easier by the use of an electric adjustable hospital bed. Changing positions, sitting up, watching television, or elevating certain parts of the body can all be achieved much more easily.
Explore Your Electric Hospital Bed Options Today
Unsure if an electric hospital bed is right for you? Then you should ask an expert!
The professionals at Healthcare Solutions have years of experience providing both high quality products and informed advice on everything related to hospital beds.
If you’re interested in purchasing one for your home, renting one temporarily, or simply need advice on which model of electric hospital bed or mattress might be the most beneficial, they’re always happy to take your call or respond to your email.
Contact them by registering for an account, and take the first steps on your road to recovery today!