Decubitus, better known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, is a common but potentially serious condition for those with reduced mobility. Whether the patient relies on a wheelchair every day or is entirely unable to leave their bed, both of these situations can lead to the development of these sores. And, if left untreated, pressure ulcers can lead to severe skin damage, open wounds, and even infections and the death of skin cells. Fortunately, there are many products on the market that can help with both preventing these pressure injuries. Keep reading to learn what they are.
Pressure Pads and Pumps
When laying on a bed, your weight is rarely distributed evenly. There are certain spots on your skin that experience more pressure, and this is where decubitus is likely to form. The best way to prevent those ulcers from forming then is, naturally, to prevent excess pressure on common points like the tailbone, hips, and spine. Pressure pads with air pumps can help with this.
These mattress pads have over a hundred air cells, which can inflate and deflate to more evenly distribute a person’s weight while lying in bed. The pressure in the pads also alternate in a steady cycle, changing the amount of pressure on the body. With more even weight distribution and cycling pressures, sores are much less likely to form on the skin.
If you or a loved one is on bedrest or otherwise unable to leave their bed, it’s essential that you change their position on a regular basis. Of course, this is difficult for many people to achieve. The patient may be unable to move enough on their own to sufficiently change position, and a caretaker may not be constantly available to help them move each hour (the recommended frequency for changing positions).
Electric beds that can be adjusted with the touch of a button can help with this to an extent. The ability to push a button to change your position allows those with limited mobility to adjust themselves when needed. It is important to note that, when elevating your head on an adjustable bed, you shouldn’t elevate to more than 30 degrees; anything more than this can cause your back to slide on the mattress and lead to shearing, which is another common cause of bedsores.
Your mattress topper doesn’t have to be inflatable with a pump system to help prevent decubitus. A simple egg crate foam mattress topper helps to relieve pressure as well. If you’re looking for something to help with bedsores, but you’re on a tight budget, these are an excellent option. The soft foam and the egg crate shape of the topper assist with weight distribution and preventing pressure point sores.
Another, newer option when it comes to mattress toppers is a dry floatation overlay system. These non-powered toppers consist of soft, interconnected air cells that conform to your body’s contours much better than any mattress ever will. It doesn’t press into your skin like a bed or other mattress topper will—and no pressure means no pressure ulcers.
Pressure Relief in a Wheelchair
Wheelchair users typically have some mobility in their upper body. For those who are able, the best way to prevent the development of pressure ulcers from sitting in a wheelchair is to use pressure relief techniques. This means using the arms of your wheelchair to raise yourself up out of the seat for at least 30 seconds every 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re unable to do this on your own, ask for assistance.
You may also benefit from the use of an extra pad or cushion on your wheelchair seat. Be sure to avoid the use of a donut cushion, as this can put extra pressure on surrounding tissue. If your wheelchair pad become flat or thin, replace it to meet your pressure needs.
Anyone who is restricted in their mobility—be it in a wheelchair or in bed—need to be on the lookout for developing bedsores. In addition to using the products mentioned, patients should follow proper skin care recommendations from their doctor and ensure that they are changing positions regularly. If you’re interested in purchasing any of the above-mentioned products, reach out to us at Elixair Medical. We can provide you with anything from adjustable hospital beds to mattress toppers and more. Your health is our priority, so give us a call today to get the medical products you need.