Preventing Bedsores

Written by Emily McBride (last updated October 29, 2009)

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are a danger to those who are stuck in bed. Although at first they might just seem to be a painful nuisance, they can actually develop into a severe medical condition and even result in death. Bedsores occur when there is a lot of pressure on certain parts of the body and the pressure cuts off blood flow to the area. Because the body part is not getting circulation, the tissue around it dies, exposing vulnerable parts of the body to infection. Bedsores are most common on the hips, heels, and buttocks. Because bedsores are dangerous and hard to heal, it's better to just try to prevent them in the first place.

  • The "Two Hour" Rule. Every two hours, reposition the body so that there is not pressure on the same areas of the body. Although this rule can seem tedious and time-consuming, it is truly the best way to prevent bedsores. If the person is sitting in a chair, you may need to move them even more often.
  • Pillow. Place a pillow between the knees if lying sideways to prevent too much pressure on inner legs. Also, try to get a mattress or pad for a chair that is cushioned, either with foam, air, gel, or sheepskin. This will help alleviate pressure points.
  • Bed Position. Keep the bed lowered as much as possible. Raising the head of the bed can result in more pressure on the lower body, especially the buttocks and hips.
  • Massage. Massage the body with lotion a few times a day to increase circulation, but avoid the areas that have been receiving a lot of pressure.
  • Keep Clean. Change sheets frequently. Also, make sure to keep the skin clean and dry. Moist skin can aggravate the potential for bedsores.
  • Hydrate. The body needs to be hydrated in order to perform at its best and decrease the chances of bedsores. Make sure that he or she is receiving at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Inspect for Redness. Keep an eye out for bedsores. They often come unexpectedly and quickly. Examine the body frequently for any signs of redness. Then, make sure that you keep those areas away from pressure until all signs of redness are gone.

Bedsores can be painful and fatal, so make sure you are taking the steps to prevent them now. It may seem like a hassle right now, but in the long run, you'll be glad you did.

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Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...


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