How Many Calories Does a Patient with Advanced Bed Sores Need to Consume?

By Nursing Home Law Center

Elderly Woman EatingIndividual cases may vary, so patients should always consult with a physician about their caloric requirements. Nevertheless, a healing body requires far more calories than a normal, healthy body. Experts estimate that the body needs 35-40 calories per kilogram of body weight when it needs to heal. This suggests a daily caloric intake of:

  • 1,587 - 1,814 calories per day for someone weighing 100 pounds.
  • 2,381 - 2,721 calories per day for someone weighing 150 pounds.
  • 3,175 - 3,628 calories per day for someone weighing 200 pounds.

Not only does the body need more calories to heal from a wound such as a bedsore, but malnutrition can lead to bedsores forming more easily. Experts say that undernourished individuals have less energy and are less likely to move on their own. This is a risk factor in developing bedsores, or pressure sores.

Also, malnourishment means loss of fat, muscle and other tissue that provides padding for bedridden patients. Being confined to a bed is a large risk factor for bedsores.

Furthermore, malnourished individuals have less of the vitamins and minerals necessary for the body to heal. Once the bedsore starts, it progresses more rapidly and is slower to heal.

What is a Bedsore?

A bedsore is a wound on a body that has developed due to continuous pressure on an area. This pressure reduces or even cuts off the flow of blood, which causes the skin and underlying tissue to start to die. If left untreated, a bedsore can result in the death of the patient.

Bedsores fall into one of four categories of severity:

  • Stage I. The skin has a red discoloration and may turn purple. The skin has not broken yet. The affected area may feel warm and hard to the touch, and there may be swelling.
  • Stage II. The skin begins to break down and die. Abrasions appear, and possible blistering. The outer layer of the skin is compromised.
  • Stage III. The tissue underneath the skin has broken down. Infection is a major risk.
  • Stage IV. The tissue has worn away and uncovered the muscle and bone underneath. Infection can be severe and lead to sepsis. Stage IV bedsores are life-threatening.

Where do Bedsores Usually Occur?

A bedsore can happen to any part of the body exposed to continuous pressure, blocking the supply of blood. The anatomy of the body makes some areas more likely to come into contact with this kind of pressure than others. Body parts with little fat to cushion the body against a mattress's pressure are at greatest risk for developing bed sores, such as:

  • Back of the head
  • Ankles
  • Heels
  • Hips
  • Lower back
  • Knees
  • Spine

How can We Treat Bedsores?

There are various treatment options. The physicians will make the final decision based partly on the severity of the bedsore. Treatment options include:

  • Debridement. This involves chemical or surgical removal of necrotic tissue. Early stage bedsores do not usually require debridement.
  • Wound vacs. A wound vac is often used after a bedsore has been debrided. This dressing applies suction which keeps the wound dry and allows for healing.
  • Flap reconstruction surgery. The most severe cases of bedsore may require surgery. With flap reconstruction, healthy skin from another part of the body is used to close over a bedsore's wound.
  • Colostomy. A colostomy bag prevents feces from getting into the wound and infecting it. It also helps to keep the wound dry.
  • Amputation. In the worst cases, when the tissue has gone necrotic and the patient's life is at stake, surgeons may need to remove a limb.

A patient's nourishment will help or hinder any treatment. Consuming sufficient calories is an important part of the healing process.

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