Bed Sores also called as “Decubitus Ulcers”, ”Pressure Sores” and ”Pressure Ulcers” are skin lesions which can be caused by friction, humidity, temperature, continence, medication, shearing forces, age and unrelieved pressure. These painful skin ulcers due to constant pressure on part of the body shuts down the blood vessels feeding that area of skin. The first damage appears on the skin surface as a red or dark patch. Less than two hours of constant pressure may cause skin damage. The actual damage lies beneath the skin; skin damage is just the visible consequence. The further development of pressure sore will break down to form blisters, dead skin, and finally infect underlying tissues, bones and joints.
Bed Sores can be seen on the lower back, buttocks and on bony protruding areas like Shoulders, Hips, Knees, Heels and Ankles. Experts suggest, Bed Sores are hard to prevent especially for vulnerable patients. Those bed sores can progress rapidly and are usually difficult to heal.
Bed Sores can be seen in different stages, which are:
- The skin remains intact.
- The skin becomes red on people with lighter skin color and does not lighten when touched.
- On people with darker skin, it may appear ashen, bluish or purple scars.
- Depending on the place of occurrence and skins, it may be painful, firm, soft, warmer or cooler compared to surrounding skin.
- Stage II ulcer is an open wound.
- The outer layer of skin (epidermis) and part of the underlying layer of skin (dermis) looks burnt.
- The pressure soar may appear as a shallow, pinkish-red, basin-like wound.
- It can be intact or ruptured fluid-filled blister.
- At this stage, the ulcer is a deep wound.
- The loss of skin usually exposes some amount of fat.
- The ulcer has a crater like appearance.
- The bottom of the wound may have some yellowish dead tissue.
- The damage may extend beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin.
- The final stage makes loss of tissue on large-scale.
- The wound may expose muscle, bone and tendons.
- The bottom of the wound likely contains slough or dark, crusty dead tissue.
- The damage often extends beyond the primary wound below layers of healthy skin.
Popular treatments and recommendations
- Aloe Vera, applied topically in ointment, gel, or cream form, is effective in healing Sores.
- Topical calendula cream is very soothing and healing to wounds. Use it as directed on the product label.
- Goldenseal is a natural antiseptic. Vitamin E is healing and soothing to the skin. Make a paste by combining the contents of three 500 milligrams capsules of goldenseal (or 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder) and 800 international units of vitamin E (pierce capsules and squeeze out the oil). If the resulting mixture is too dry, add few drops of olive oil. Apply this to the affected area three times daily.
- Visit feed store and buy cortisol for horses and it heals a bed sore that goes clear to the bone. It is wonderful and really works.
- Take vitamins C, A, B-complex, folic acid, and zinc.
- Apply liquid lecithin, or zinc ointment to clean sores and dress with a gauze bandage.
- Make mixture of powder comfrey leaves and slippery elm in equal parts to make a paste. Put this paste on a piece of cloth and tie it to the sore overnight. To disinfect the area you can sprinkle goldenseal or Echinacea powder.
- Clean Sores using sponge with fresh cucumber juice.
- Gotu kola extracts can also be used as catalyst to help speed wound healing.
- Apply tea tree oil directly to the bed sores twice daily for 10 days.
- Apply vitamin E oil to the skin area during bed rest. Repeat this twice daily.
- You should wash the sores at least 2-4 times a day by making concoction of witch hazel and myrrh/turmeric root/goldenseal.
- Mixture of wheat germ oil and guava leaves tea counts beneficial as well.
- Each individual patient situation must be taken into consideration by the caregiver in order to develop a care plan that will assure the patient will not suffer a lot.
- The patient should be bathed properly.
- Patient incontinence should be assessed and treated to assure that moisture on the skin does not contribute to the development of Pressure Sores.
- Appropriate nutrition and hydration must be maintained.
- Repositioning of the patient should occur with a frequency to assure that the pressure is adequately relieved.
- Use of appropriate support devices should be maintained to relieve pressure from troublesome areas.
- Postural alignment, distribution of weight, balance and stability, and pressure relief should be considered when positioning people in chairs or wheelchairs.
- Appropriate lifting devices and techniques should be used to assure that shear and friction related injuries are avoided.
- Education should be given to the patient, family and caregivers on measures to be taken to avoid Pressure Sores, and appropriate documentation of such measures.
Insert date: 2011.10.24 Last update: 2012.01.24