Owners' Blog

Bedsores and Senior Care: What to Look For!

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Senior Care Buford GA

Seniors who are immobilized for long periods of time are at a high risk for developing bedsores.  These could become serious if left untreated.  It is important that those providing senior care for the elderly are knowledgeable about bedsores and know what to look for.

Bedsores are also referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers.  Bedsores are wounds in the skin that occur when there is prolonged pressure on the skin against a surface such as the bed or a wheelchair.  They are painful and take a long time to heal.  If left untreated they can cause life-threatening complications such as skin and bone infections.

Senior care services should know that bedsores occur in the areas on the body that have the least amount of muscle or fat.  An in-home care provider should be aware that an elderly person with total immobility for even 12 hours could cause bedsores.  The most common areas for bedsores to develop are on the tailbone, shoulder blades, hips, heals, and elbows.

When circulation is obstructed, the blood flow slows or stops depriving tissue of oxygen and nutrients causing the skin to die.  For seniors who are immobilized due to surgery, injury, or illness, they are at a higher risk for the skin breaking down and causing bedsores.

There are four stages of bedsores:

  • Stage 1 – an area of skin appears red and may itch or hurt. In darker skin, the patch can appear blue or purple. If pressure is relieved promptly, the wound may disappear.
  • Stage 2 – an open sore that looks like a blister or abrasion are an indication that the skin has been compromised. At this stage, if treated immediately, the sore may heal quickly. It also depends on other health conditions in the patient.
  • Stage 3 – at this stage, the bedsore has extended through all the layers of skin. A deep, crater-like wound indicates that tissue has been permanently destroyed. Bedsores at this stage are very painful and difficult to treat.
  • Stage 4 – at this stage, bedsores are often lethal. They destroy muscle, bone, tendons, and joints.

Senior care services should reposition a person’s body every two hours if in bed and every 30 minutes if in a wheelchair to prevent bedsores.  However, this is a difficult challenge, especially when a person is sleeping and has to be awakened every two hours.

Inspection is going to be the vital component to quality senior care in preventing bedsores.  It is much easier to take preventative measures than to have to treat bedsores. It is much better for the patient in the long run as well.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for senior care in the home, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Alpharetta. Call today (678) 430-8511