Nutritional Supplements may Help Heal Pressure Sores

By Nursing Home Law Center

Nutritional Supplements

Medical scientists have long known that malnourished individuals suffering with Stage II to Stage IV bedsores require more time to heal from the condition compared to healthier patients. However, recently released data shows the potential benefits of using enriched formula supplement aids in malnourished patients to improve healing after just eight weeks. The study formula contained various supplemental ingredients including arginine, zinc, selenium, Vitamin C and Vitamin E to produce synergistic results.

The study notes that both Vitamin C and arginine enhance fibroblast and collagen formation and that arginine can stimulate nitrous oxide to enhance blood flow circulation. The zinc in the enriched formula supplemental aid is known to support DNA synthesis, cellular proliferation and immune function. The nutrient antioxidants are also known to reduce free radical inflammation.

The study involved 200 patients with developing progressive pressure sores (bedsores; decubitus ulcers; pressure ulcers) at Stage II, III and IV who were receiving care in a long-term care setting or home care environment who received the isonitrogenous, isocaloric formula over eight weeks. This is in addition to receiving optimal care to treat their existing, progressive sore.

Important Findings From Study on Nutritional Impact on Bed Sore Patients

Maintaining good health requires good nutrition as an essential component to living a quality life. This requires consuming a balanced diet. However, for many residents in nursing facilities eating healthy depends on access to quality food. Even if the nursing facility provides nutrient rich meals, the nursing staff must have a complete comprehensive understanding of malnutrition and take efforts to encourage residents to eat the right foods.

Healing a wound is a highly complex process that requires micronutrients and energy that is usually only obtained through specific nutrients including vitamins A, B and C along with amino acid arginine, magnesium, selenium, copper and zinc. Any nutritional deficiency in the diet consumed by the nursing home resident can lead to malaise, illness or an increase susceptibility to developing pressure sores. This is because malnutrition and pressure ulcers have long been recognized to be interrelated. Alternatively, consuming adequate nutrition through foods or supplements can reverse many of the signs and symptoms of an underfed body and lower the potential risk of bedsore susceptibility.

Better Nursing Care

Preventing a pressure sore is much easier than healing one. The nursing staff at any medical facility, assisted living center or nursing home can take steps to reduce the potential of developing a bedsore or the progression of an existing pressure ulcer. This is because bedsores begin to develop with prolonged pressure on a specific part of the body that has a bony prominence like the shoulder blades, sacrum, hips, feet, heels, toes and ankles. The prolonged pressure restricts blood flow to the area causing the skin and underlying tissue to die within a couple of hours.

Mobility-challenged individuals tend to be at greatest risk for developing a bedsore, especially those bound to a wheelchair or bed for an extended length of time. However, better nursing care can lead to prevent a bedsore. The most effective nursing practices involve:

  • Check all skin areas of the patient multiple times a day to look for any indicator of a sore, a color change in skin or previously undetected spot.

  • Maintain healthy skin and tissue by keeping the area clean and dry while using moisturizers and mild soap during bathing.

  • Replace soiled clothing and diapers when necessary to avoid skin contact with acidic urine and feces, which can cause severe skin damage.

  • Reposition the resident’s body a minimum of one time every two hours.

  • Reinforce sufficient hydration through encouragement of consuming fluids all day long.

  • Use pillows to ensure separation of the knees and separation of the ankles when resting.

  • Use a pressure-reducing device including sheepskin pads, gel pads, pressure-releasing mattresses and wheelchair cushions.

Suffered a Facility-Acquired Bedsore?

While nutritional supplements may have the ability to expedite the time to heal a facility-acquired pressure sore, you still might be entitled to receive financial compensation for your injuries. The nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center LLC (800) 926-7565 can provide legal representation to stop the negligence of nursing staff that caused your sore. We accept nursing home abuse and negligence cases on contingency so no upfront fees are required.

Related Information

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources

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