Many of Adendorff Attorney’s clients that have suffered a personal injury as a result of an accident are confined to a bed or a wheelchair. One of the many challenges these men, women and children face is the risk of bedsores. Most bedsores do heal, but if left untreated, or if the case is severe – the infection can spread to the blood, heart, bone, leading to amputation and even death.
What is a bedsore?
Also known as a pressure ulcer or a decubitus ulcer, a pressure sore is an injury to the skin and tissue under it. Sitting or lying in the same position can starve the tissue of oxygen and vital nutrients and it begins to die and a sore starts to form.
For people who use a wheelchair, pressure sores often occur on the skin over the tailbone or buttocks, shoulder blades and spine, backs of arms and legs where they rest against the chair. For those personal injury victims confined to a bed, common sites include the back or sides of the head, shoulder blades, hip, lower back or tailbone and heels, ankles and skin behind the knees.
Pressure ulcers can fall into one of several stages based on their depth and severity. The degree of skin and tissue damage ranges from discoloured skin to a deep injury involving muscle and bone. Bedsores can develop quickly and there are steps you can take to help prevent them from forming and promote healing. Warning signs of pressure ulcers to look out for include:
- Changes in skin color or texture
- An area of skin that feels cooler or warmer to the touch than other areas
- Keep skin clean and dry. The cleaner and drier the skin is, the less likely it will develop bedsores. Don’t towel try too vigorously, it can lead to skin irritation.
- Exercise. Even if the patient is immobile, there may be some small motion exercises that can be performed to promote circulation. Discuss this with a doctor, nurse or clinic.
- Diet. Protein, calories, vitamins A and C, zinc and iron, help promote healthy skin.
- Review your mattress or wheel chair padding. An egg crate foam mattress pad on top of a standard mattress is well suited to the home.
What is a foam egg crate mattress topper?
Mattress toppers lie on top of a mattress to help decrease pressure on the skin. Egg shell toppers have soft foam bumps and dips that look like a large egg carton and are designed to distribute body weight evenly and reduce to help prevent skin breakdown and bed sores. Egg crate bed toppers are used in many hospitals, long-term care facilities and homes. They are also easy to use; simply place it on top of the existing mattress (with the bumps facing the ceiling) and cover with a fitted sheet (over both the mattress topper and the mattress). Mattress toppers can also be cut to fit a wheelchair or favorite armchair to improve weight.
Foam egg crate toppers are available at most Dis-Chem stores or speak to your doctor or clinic for advice.