When caring for a bed or wheelchair confined person there are lots of things to bear in mind, such as making sure their diet is healthy and their hygiene is well kept, but something as simple as changing someone’s position can be easily overlooked. This can lead to severe pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, forming on sensitive parts of the body due to irritation and continuous pressure. Pressure ulcers are easier to prevent than treat and are much more common on bony parts of the body such as the heels, sacrum, elbows, hips, back, shoulders and bottom. In the most severe cases it can take less than an hour for a pressure ulcer to develop.
How do they develop?
The blood flow through skin is disrupted when a large amount of pressure is applied to an area of skin over a short period of time, but can also form when pressure is applied over a longer amount of time. If the skin has no supply of blood it becomes starved of oxygen and nutrients which eventually leads to pressure ulcers forming.
Who is affected?
Pressure ulcers affect people who find it hard to move such as people confined to a bed or chair. People with Type 2 Diabetes are also prone to pressure ulcers as this condition affects the blood flow through the body. Its estimated that approximately half a million people in the UK alone will develop a pressure ulcer in any given year, usually affecting people with an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or obesity or even people over the age of 70 due to the increased likeliness of them having aging skin and mobility problems.
How to prevent them?
Ideally you should move about as much as possible but for people who cannot it is up to their carer to change their position as much as possible, this allows pressure to be relieved so its not always focused on one spot. In the case of wheelchairs the person should maintain decent posture to prevent their body from slipping down. This constant sliding movement causes layers of skin to slide over each other which can eventually lead to pressure ulcers.
You can also maintain a well balanced diet. Increase the amount of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet. Keep your skin hydrated and if you have any difficulties eating always ask for help.
Another way to help is to use pressure relieving products. We have many to choose from here.
For wheelchair users we recommend the following:
Eco Visco Memory Foam Cushion £18.00 Ex-Vat £15.00
The duel layered construction utilises a combination of Visco elastic memory foam (the thinner top layer approx 2 cm) and a high density polyurethane foam (the thicker bottom layer), which provides stability, support and comfort. The polyurethane base offers added support and prevents the cushion from bottoming out. The upper layer of memory foam provides the comfort and even pressure distribution.
For bed confined users we recommend:
Our range of Heel and Elbow Protectors
Sheepskin Heel £24.00 Ex Vat £20.00 - Elbow £19.90 Ex Vat £16.58
Lambswool Heel £11.88 Ex Vat £9.90 - Elbow £11.88 Ex Vat £9.90
Synthetic Heel £8.15 Ex Vat £6.78 - Elbow £7.90 Ex Vat £6.58
The design includes velcro fastening, which makes them easy to put on and remove. The Synthetic Fleece Protectors boast all the benefits of Sheepskin or Lambswool protectors, with the added benefit of being non-allergenic.