If you are the caregiver for a person who is confined to a wheelchair or bed you already know how vulnerable they are to certain health risks. By utilizing the many services and products available today such as air pressure mattresses most of these conditions can be alleviated or prevented altogether. It is always wise to be aware of the health risks and alert to controlling them before they become life threatening. Here are 6 common conditions that caregivers should take care to keep a watchful eye on.
One of the most significant risks to the bedridden patient is the development of bedsores. These lesions can develop and progress very rapidly in the patient who remains in the same position for too long. Constant pressure on certain areas of the body decreases the amount of blood flow to those spots and friction increases resulting in damage to the skin. Eventually the flesh actually dies and the lesions can become quite deep, even to the point of infecting the surrounding bone and muscle. By using an alternating pressure mattress which turns the patient on a regular basis, theses sores can be prevented.
Patients who are confined to bed and are unable to turn themselves are susceptible to several other serious conditions as well, one of the most significant being pneumonia and pulmonary congestion. If the patient cannot turn themselves and remain immobile, pulmonary secretions can build up and become a threat to the patient’s health. With the automatic gentle turning provided by a pressure mattress system, the secretions are loosened and do not build up.
Spinal column pressure
The gentle turning of the patient with a pressure mattress also helps to reduce the occurrence of back pain that can be caused by constant pressure on the spinal column. This greatly increases patient comfort and overall well being.
If you’ve ever slept on a bad mattress you can fully understand the importance of comfort to a good night’s sleep. If a patient is unable to move themselves, the body becomes extremely stiff and uncomfortable, resulting in disrupted sleep. With the constant gentle turning provided by an air pressure mattress, the patient is able to have a solid nights rest which ultimately helps improve overall physical and emotional health.
Loss of appetite
Lack of movement and stimulation can quickly lead to a loss of appetite which can in turn result in very poor nutrition. Providing adequate stimulation can help to prevent the patient from losing interest in food. Bedridden patients should be provided with a variety of activities such as music, movies, reading, puzzles, social interaction and conversation. Food should be interesting and appealing even if the patient is unable to feed themselves.
If other conditions such as a lack of social activity, loss of appetite and lack of sleep are allowed to persist, the bedridden or wheel chair confined patient can also become unresponsive and depressed. This can be avoided by ensuring that the patient receives proper care and attention to the personal needs, both physical and emotional.
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Rachel Clarkson is a bed sores specialist and a big fan and promoter of “The Volkner Turning Mattress”: http://www.Volkner.com