Preventing and Treating Bedsores

Bedsores, also referred to as pressure ulcers can pose a serious threat to patients, especially for those that are bedridden. Prevention of bedsores, if at all possible, is critical as treating them can be problematic and can often lead to other conditions.

Physicians will usually perform a visual exam in order to assess the likelihood of a patient developing them. There are several factors that a doctor will take into account to determine a patient’s risk level, some of which are:

  • Level of mobility
  • General health of patient
  • Prior history of bedsores
  • Nutrition
  • Continence
  • Blood circulation
  • Mental health and state of patient
  • Existing signs or symptoms of infection

Accredited CNA certification programs will have provided extensive training on avoiding and detecting bedsores in patients.  Visual checks must be carried out daily for signs of skin discoloration and followed by touching the patient’s skin for any abnormal textures that may have developed.

Once a bedsore or pressure ulcer has been detected, it is difficult to treat since open wounds are slow to heal even in mobile or otherwise healthy people. Even after a bedsore has healed the area often experiences irreparable damage with the skin remaining quite irregular. In cases where patients are being cared for at home a certified nursing assistant or health care aid may not be present 7 days a week and it is therefore vital that others caring for the patient continue the treatment and regularly check for bedsores.

As soon as a bedsore has been detected the pressure to that spot must be eliminated immediately. There are a couple of ways this can be done.

  • Specific supportive devices such as mattresses, pads, specialized beds or cushions can help relieve the pressure. Which devices are used will depend on how far the sore(s) have advanced, the size of the patient as well as his/her mobility.
  • Changing the position of the patient regularly is critical. It is important to protect the wound with padding when moving the patient in order to avoid friction to the affected area.

When dealing with patients of limited mobility, it is highly recommended that every certified nursing assistant review bedsore procedure that were taught in their CNA classes. This can often be accomplished through online CNA certification review programs.