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Bedsores – Treatment of Bedsores

Bedsores also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers are those areas of damaged skin and tissue that happens as a result of prolonged pressure that results in cutting off the circulation to those parts of the body like buttocks, heels and hips. When there is a reduced blood supply, the tissue that is affected dies. Its is most commonly seen in bedridden patients and the only way to prevent this disorder is to maintain the skin’s integrity and then encourage the healing process.

Treatment of Bedsores

Treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. The treatment depends on the type and severity of the bedsore. The treatment includes:

Conservative Treatment

Stage 1and 2 sores heal within weeks by following certain measures. The initial step is to relieve pressure that causes these sores. They include:

  • Changing Position Often: Follow a regular schedule for turning the position and repositioning for every 15 minutes. If you are unable to change the position on your own,then take help from any of your family member. Use extra padding over the wound as this helps to prevent friction when you move.
  • Using Support Surfaces: There are special mattresses, pads, cushions and beds that relieve pressure on the bed sores and protect other areas that are vulnerable to it. Protective padding like sheepskin is not thick to reduce pressure, but is helpful in separating the parts of the body by preventing friction and thereby reducing the damage to the tissue.
  • Use air-filled, foam or water-filled cushions, pillows and mattresses, as these relieve the pressure and reduce the already formed sores.

Non-Surgical Interventions

Some of the common non-surgical interventions include:

  • Cleaning: It is very much important to clean the wound to prevent further infection. Gently wash the wound with mild soap and water and open sores should be washed with saline solution. Avoid the use of certain antiseptic solution like iodine and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Debridement (Removal of Damaged Tissue): If the wound has to heal properly, then it has to be free of dead, damaged or infected tissue. One of the ways to remove the dead skin is by debridement. This is a painful procedure and so the doctor uses techniques like mechanical debridement where the dead tissue is removed with a high-pressure irrigation device, autolytic debridement where the body’s own enzymes are taken to break down the dead tissue. The other way is to use topical enzymes for the debridement process.
  • Dressings: Stage-2 bedsores should be treated with transparent semipermeable dressings or hydro-colloids, to retain the moisture and encourage the cell growth. Those sores that are contaminated are treated with topical cream.
  • Hydrotherapy: Whirlpool baths can help in the healing of the skin and removes the dead tissues.
  • Oral Antibiotics: If the pressure sore gets infected, then the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics.

Surgical Repair

Bedsores if it reaches a stage where regular intervention does not work, surgical intervention may be required. The main aim of surgical intervention includes improving the hygiene,preventing and treating infection and reducing the fluid loss through wound. The wound is debrided and then the wound is repaired using a pad of muscle, tissue or other skin.

The above treatments are given to a person with severe bed sores. It is always better to prevent sores, than taking treatment.

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