Top Tips for Caring for a Pressure Sore
Posted in the Spinal Cord Injuries Forum
Since: Apr 10
#1 Aug 27, 2010
If you’re caring for someone who is bedridden or prone to pressure sores - or even if it is you who is susceptible to these distressing wounds - it’s essential to know how to look after them if they develop. Thorough and informed care of pressure sores will help them heal faster, prevent complications caused by infection and keep them from causing you further discomfort.
Follow these essential tips for caring for a pressure sore:
- Ask your health care professional for their advice before attempting to clean a pressure sore. Use the right methods, equipment and cleaning solutions according to their recommendations.
- Clean the sore each time you change the dressing.
- Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the sore when cleaning so that you damage healing tissues. On the same note, apply sufficient force so that the wound is properly cleaned.
- Do not use antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide or iodine. These can damage sensitive tissue.
- In general, Stage 1 sores can be washed and kept clean with mild soap and water. Be careful not to use a soap that has any ingredients which could be irritating to the skin or wound. Saline solutions are used to treat Stage 3 sores - the saltwater helps to remove extra fluid and loose material.
2. Removing dead tissue and debris
- This is often a painful procedure so consider giving the patient a painkiller 30 to 60 minutes before you begin.
- Consult your health care professional before attempting to remove any dead tissue or debris yourself. At times, they may recommend the removal procedure is carried out by a medical professional.
- Rinsing the sore before each dressing change will help prevent a build up of debris.
- Ask your health care professional about which removal method is best for the type of sore being treated. The most common ones are (i) wet-to-dry dressings which are applied when moist but dries to pull off dead tissue and debris once removed,(ii) enzyme medications which dissolve dead tissue,(iii) special dressings which encourage the body’s natural enzymes to dissolve dead tissue over a number of days.
3. Dressing the sore
- Sores should be kept covered with a bandage or dressing. These should be changed regularly.
- Always seek your health care provider’s advice and recommendations about which dressings to use. Allow them to watch you dress a sore so you know you are using the right methods.
- If using gauze dressings, keep the gauze moist and change at least once a day. Dried our gauze can pull away skin tissue.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after each dressing change. Use disposable gloves if needed.
- Use each dressing only once. Once finished with, a small plastic bag like a sandwich bag can be used to lift the dressing off the sore and to then discard and throw away the dressing.
- Check the dressing will stay in place when the pressure sore patient moves or changes position.
- Choose the right type of dressing or bandage for the sore. These include moist gauzes, film (see-through dressings) and hydrocolloid dressings which mold to the sore and promote healing and skin growth.
- Store and care for the dressings so they are kept clean. Discard dressings if any become wet or dirty. Only remove dressings from their box when they are needed for use.
For best prevention of bedsores, change the position of your patient every two hours and invest in a mattress overlay which will prevent bedsores from developing.
If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention our Pressure Mattress website as the original source).
Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of “The Volkner Turning Mattress”: http://www.Volkner.com
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