The Best Products for Preventing Decubitus
Decubitus is the clinical term for what most people refer to as bedsores. However, the term “bedsores” is somewhat inaccurate, because these sores—also sometimes known as pressure ulcers—can develop even in patients who aren’t bedridden. In fact, they’re quite common in wheelchair users as well. If left untreated, pressure ulcers can cause severe damage to the skin, open wounds, infection, and even the death of skin cells and muscle tissue. When it comes to decubitus, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so here are some of the best products available on the market for preventing the development of pressure ulcers.
Alternating Pressure Pads and Air Pumps
These products are designed for preventing bedsores in patients who are bedridden, rather than in those who are in wheelchairs. When lying in bed, you may feel that your weight is distributed relatively evenly. However, even if you have a very high-quality mattress, there will still be certain parts of your body that naturally take more pressure than others. Common parts of the body that receive more pressure when lying on your back include the spine, hips, tailbone, and even your heels. These parts of the body are most likely to develop decubitus.
Placing an alternating pressure pad on your mattress can help with shifting your weight and the pressure of it to different parts of your body throughout the day. These pads are composed of hundreds of cells and attached to an air pump that pushes air into specific areas of the pad. One area becomes inflated while another deflates; then, the first area deflates while another inflates. The pump continues to cycle through the different areas, inflating them in turn to continue shifting your weight around. This constant redistribution of pressure helps to prevent bedsores.
Adjustable Inclining Beds
Adjustable, hospital-style beds are a common investment for those who are force to remain in their beds throughout the day. Being able to adjust your position at the push of a button can not only help with redistribution of the pressure on your body, but will also make it easier for tasks like eating, reading, watching television, and receiving help tending to personal hygiene needs.
However, keep in mind that simply inclining and reclining the bed is not sufficient adjustment to prevent bedsores. You will still need to shift your position in other ways, such as turning on your side, in order to sufficiently redistribute the pressure on your skin and prevent the development of decubitus.
Adjustable Back and Armrests
Just as adjustable beds can help bedridden patients, wheelchairs with more adjustable options can help patients who are wheelchair bound. While those in wheelchairs may be able to shift their weight around a bit more easily, depending on the specifics of the medical condition, it’s still fairly common for wheelchair users to develop pressure sores on their tailbone, hips, spine, and the backs of their legs. A wheelchair that can be adjusted to help relieve some of the pressure in some of these common trouble areas can be a big help in preventing this condition.
An additional, soft pad underneath your body can be a big help in giving your body some relief. If you’re in a wheelchair, avoiding using donut cushions, as these apply additional pressure to surrounding tissue. Instead, look for a pad that covers the entire seat and can assist with redistribution of your weight.
If you or your loved one is bedridden, a mattress topper can be a big help as well. For those who are on a tight budget, a simple egg crate foam mattress topper can provide additional comfort and help with weight redistribution. Other options are also available, so if an alternating pressure pad like those described above isn’t within your budget, there are many different types of mattress toppers available to you.
Some Final Tips
While these products can be a big help in preventing bedsores, persistence in regularly adjusting your position and properly caring for your skin are some of the most important things that you can do to avoid the development of decubitus. If, however, you do notice sores developing, make sure that you give proper care to the area right away. We can offer wound care products, skin care products, as well as some of the products mentioned above at our various Texas locations. Contact Medical Xpress today or visit one of our stores to see which products we currently have in stock.