Bedsore Prevention

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, inflict pain to a person’s skin, and range from an annoyance to a condition that escalates and brings great harm to the body. People can take multiple measures in order to prevent the development of bedsores.

Causes and Risk Factors

Before preventing bedsores, people must understand what causes the condition to manifest in the first place. The primary cause of pressure ulcers is the application of extreme pressure on the skin, which restricts the blood flow and nutrients to the skin. The three primary factors that result in bedsore include:

  • Pressure. The applied pressure blocks the blood flow and other nutrients to the skin, resulting in the weakness and death of skin and nearby tissues.
  • Shear. When two contacting surfaces move in opposite directions, shear occurs. Shear wears down the skin and leaves it vulnerable.
  • Friction. A surface rubbing against another one leads to friction. Just as with shear, friction weakens the skin and leaves it susceptible to bedsores and other conditions.

The risk factors for bedsores generally involve the patient’s lack of mobility or change of position, which increases the instances of pressure, shear, and fiction on the skin. Among the risk factors are:

  • Immobility. A patient is unable to move because of poor health, paralysis, or other conditions that limit movement.
  • Lack of hydration and nutrition. A patient needs nutrients to keep the skin healthy and strong.
  • Disrupted blood flow. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes affect blood flow, which deprives the skin of nutrients and makes it vulnerable.
  • Lack of sensory perception. Neurological disorders, spinal cord injuries, and other related conditions result in loss of sensation in the patient’s unawareness of skin pressure and bedsore development.
Prevention of Bedsores

The primary method for preventing the development of bedsores is changing position. This method is not an option for every patient, particularly those who lack mobility. Caregivers can prevent pressure ulcers through measures such as:

  • Repositioning
  • Supportive surfaces
  • Nutrition
  • Skin Care

People can prevent most cases of bedsores if they move from time to time. Occasional motion stops pressure from building up in skin surfaces and affecting the blood flow. Doctors, nurses, and care professionals should move immobile patients at least every two hours.

Supportive Surfaces

The use of supportive surfaces such as additional padding and mattresses reduce the pressure applied to the skin. These dynamic surfaces either alter the air pressure below the surface from time to time or use silicone-coated beads that liquefy by having air pumped through. These surfaces are ideal for patients who lack the ability to move.


A healthy intake of water and nutrients enriches the skin and other tissues in the body. Reinforced, healthy skin is less vulnerable to pressure and other factors that could weaken it.

Skin Care

Proper skin care habits are measures that also maintain the skin and prevent risk factors for pressure ulcers. Some practices of skin care include:

  • Inspecting the skin daily for any signs of bedsores.
  • Protecting the skin through the application of talcum powder and lotion to vulnerable areas.
  • Cleaning and drying the skin regularly to prevent dangerous agents such as urine, moisture, and stool from sitting on the skin.
Other Preventive Measures

Minor steps people can take to prevent the formation of bedsore are:

  • Checking on early-stage bedsores, which manifest as red spots on the skin that stay red when pinched.
  • Keeping an eye on bedsore “hot spots,” such as the buttocks and the heels.
  • Taking preventive measures even without bedsores.

Pressure ulcers bring notable amounts of pain to individuals and can escalate to deadly infections. By taking simple measures that prevent vulnerable skin, people can avoid bedsores and the problems they bring.

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