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Why do Some Wound Clinics and Nursing Homes Suggest the Use of Clinitron Beds for Patients With Bed Sores?
By Nursing Home Law Center
Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are painful conditions that can be directly related to nursing home or provider negligence. When a patient, particularly an immobile one, spends too much time in a single position, blood flow restriction to the affected area occurs. Over time, this leads to tissue damage and cell death from lack of oxygen and other important nutrients to the area.
Pressure ulcers are most likely to occur on areas of the body that have bony prominences. Examples include the hips, the tailbone, the heels, the ankles, and the shoulders. The people at the highest risk for bed sores are those who have a limited ability to ambulate. Immobile patients should receive proper attention from the nursing home staff to prevent bed sores from occurring.
Unfortunately, a pressure ulcer can develop quickly and be difficult to treat. Many heal with appropriate measures, but other patients may suffer from complications related to bed sores. As a bed sore progresses through various stages, a patient may be more likely to suffer additional injury, infection, or other medical conditions that may be life threatening.What are the Possible Complications of Bed Sores?
Pressure ulcers can lead to a number of serious or life-threatening medical conditions, including:
- Infections of the bones and joints. When the skin of a pressure ulcer becomes infected, the infection can travel and burrow into the bones or joints. This can lead to serious conditions such as septic arthritis, and osteomyelitis, which damage the bones and cartilage and affect the functioning of the area.
- Cellulitis. A common complication of bed sores, this affects the surrounding skin and soft tissue of an ulcer. Symptoms include warmth, redness, and swelling. Without appropriate treatment, cellulitis can lead to sepsis and systemic infection.
- Cancer. When a patient has a long, non-healing wound - called a Marjolin's ulcer - it can develop into a cancerous growth called a squamous cell carcinoma.
- Sepsis. In some cases, a pressure ulcer can lead to a life-threatening blood infection called sepsis.
The best way to approach bed sores in a nursing home setting is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The prevention of bed sores involves knowing the factors that could put a patient at risk for developing them and taking conservative measures to help prevent their occurrence:
- Changing positions of immobile patients frequently, preferably every hour
- Keeping bedlinens and clothing clean, and changing soiled items promptly
- Effectively managing chronic conditions such as vascular disease, renal insufficiency, and diabetes mellitus, which can make bed sores more common
- Ensuring that patients consume a well-balanced, nutritious diet
- Keeping patients hydrated
Thanks to recent advancements in technology, tools also exist to help prevent bedsores and treat them when they do occur. One such example is the Clinitron bed. A bed specially designed for people with pressure ulcers, the Clinitron bed utilizes "air fluidized therapy," or AFT, to reduce the risk factors of bed sores and promote the healing process. The Clinitron bed works in three ways:
- It reduces pressure on the areas of the body prone to bed sores
- It dissipates the body heat produced by patients
- It wicks moisture away to keep vulnerable areas dry and clean
Clinitron mattresses are superior to traditional mattresses when it comes to wound healing and the prevention of bed sores. They help restore the flow of oxygen to tissues, facilitating the delivery of important nutrients to wound areas. By equipping their facilities with Clinitron mattresses, nursing homes can take a proactive approach to wound care and help prevent painful conditions from occurring in their patient population.