Study Emphasizes Importance of Good Diet in Preventing Pressure Ulcers

By Nursing Home Law Center


A study from the Australian Journal of Advanced Medicine claims that a proper diet is essential to preventing advanced pressure ulcers. The study, a collaboration between European and American nurses, found that there was a direct correlation between good nutrition and fewer bed sores.

“Through nutritional supplements, the risk [of bed sores] can be reduced, and the patient’s nutritional status can then be preserved”, the study says.

Along with helping to reduce bed sores, proper nutrition can dramatically alter a patient’s daily life.

“Nutritional supplementation leads to an increased capacity to manage activities, and [helps to] reduce the patient’s sensitivity to infections”, the study says.

Though the study doesn’t give specific diet suggestions, it recommends patients consume at least 25-50 calories per kilogram of body weight. It also advises a strict regimen of multivitamins, along with lots of daily personal time with nursing staff.

“The number of ulcers decreases if nurses interact with nursing-home patients at least fifteen minutes, and with enrolled nurses for two hours a day”, the study says.

When patients are not provided with proper nutrition, organs can begin to fail and critical body functions can begin to deteriorate rapidly. According to the study, a lack of appetite can lead to rapid weight loss, dehydration and the inability to move. Signs of malnutrition include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Disorientation
  • Muscle twitches
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
  • Scaling and cracking of the lips and mouth

Several groups are considered “high risk” for malnutrition, including patients with mouth problems, patients with gastro-intestinal problems, and patients with low diastolic blood pressure. The effects of malnutrition can be severe, ranging from impaired respiratory function to an overall increase in complications.

“Malnutrition.. is an important indicator for the origins of pressure ulcers in patients aged between 65 and 85 years”, the study says.

The study also notes that “elderly people generally eat little, and the wrong kind of food”.

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