Decubitus ulcers, better known as bedsores, are common in nursing home residents who do not change positions frequently enough. Bedsores are uncomfortable and even painful, and if left untreated, they can lead to more serious issues.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, there are some signs of these pressure ulcers to look out for. There are also ways to prevent them from occurring.
Symptoms of bedsores
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common areas where you will see bedsores are behind the knees, heels, shoulder blades, tailbone, spine and the back or sides of the head. They occur most frequently in those who have medical conditions that require them to spend long periods of time in a chair or bed. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Skin texture or color changes
- Areas that feel warmer or cooler than others
- Pus draining
Pressure ulcers occur in stages. In the earlier stages, treatment methods may include wound care, antibiotics and off-loading cushions. Once it reaches the later stages, in which there is infection in deep skin layers or the underlying bone, surgery may be necessary.
Healthline discusses that the best way to prevent bedsores is to reposition the patient frequently, such as every two hours. Another strategy is to use pillows to reduce pressure on vulnerable areas. Dietary changes can be beneficial, as can daily exercise, even if it just stretching or minimal movement. Regularly checking for these pressure ulcers helps to identify them early, which improves recovery.