Monday, July 20, 2015
Bedsores. What are they, can they be prevented? First of all, bedsores are what is described in the medical field as a pressure wound.
The wound can start on any part of the body that is touching the surface and not being repositioned. It doesn't take weeks to get a bedsore. These can start in a matter of days. Thin skin is a problem with the elderly and these can happen very quickly. But you don't have to be elderly to get pressure wounds.
We call them bedsores, because people who get them are generally in bed and unable to move, hence they get pressure wounds from not being turned or repositioned.
Most times you will hear complaints about bedsores from people who have loved ones in a facility. The facility is staffed at the very minimum usually, and your loved one is just not being repositioned.
This doesn't make it right or justify why bedsores happen, I am just explaining the reality of them.
In a hospital, you tend to find less bedsores because the staffing there is much better. If you push the nurse call light to have your loved one repositioned, it usually happens within minutes.
Sometimes because of the staffing in a facility, this doesn't happen as it should. It is up to you to watch for these types of wounds. If you leave it to the facility they most likely will see a bedsore starting and repositioning is needed in treating the wound.
The key word here is most likely. Look at it this way, you have one aid to every eight patients or so. The fact is they simply don't have the time to do everything that is needed for every patient.
Repositioning is just one of the dozens of tasks that must be preformed on patients. There are countless things these folks have to do and there is only one of them for at least a half a dozen patients.
I am not giving the facility a pass on bedsores occurring and not dealing with them properly, I am merely trying to explain why they are not dealt with sometimes.
Then you always have the possibility of an aid simply not doing their job. All of these things factor in the finding of bedsores, and the taking care of them.
These things are dangerous. They can and will get infected that will cause all kinds of issues, up to and including death in some cases. MRSA is a big thing when it comes to bedsores.
Anyone in a facility can get MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. In medical facilities, MRSA causes life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.
Not to mention that these pressure wounds are extremely painful. Bedsores are very common in patients who have lost the ability to be mobile. Who just lay there.
In my 24 years in EMS I can tell you that I seen more cases of bedsores in home care than I ever did in a facility. In other words, patients being taken care of in a home setting, for whatever reason were not being repositioned and bedsores were very common.
You will find bedsores more prevalent in a home setting then you ever will in a hospital or any facility, simply because some caregivers either don't know to reposition their loved one, or they simply can't.
These pressure wounds can be found anywhere on the body. You will find them on their back, their sides, their buttox, their legs, their arms, even on the heels of their feet.
Anywhere a body part comes into contact with the bed, couch, wherever, you can find bedsores.
These can be prevented by simply repositioning. But you have to do this constantly. And when a patient is in a great deal of pain, or if they are combative, repositioning is not the easy as it sounds.
Watch for bedsores. Most caregivers do. But whether they are being taken care of at home or in a facility, bedsores do happen. And in my experience in EMS, they are more prevalent in a home setting.
Some are under the assumption that no one has ever died from a bedsore. That would be false. People have died from bedsores. They can and do go clear to the bone if not treated. To think this is not an issue is simply not true.
I just had a cousin die, not because of bedsores, but because of complications from diabetes. She did in the end have bedsores, because of her inability to move.
We watched them closely as a family, but they indeed did happen. We just made sure we or the facility turned her and what sores she got were treated.
She did in the end have MRSA also. So be very aware of these types of wounds. They can be deadly.