Nurses know when the elderly person no longer moves independently, they will need to be extra vigilant in their skin care.
* Preventing wounds is much easier than healing them
* An elderly person can develop a pressure wound in 2-6 hours of not changing position
* A pressure wound is painful
* Healing a pressure wound is costly
* Pressure wounds can develop anywhere there is a bone under the skin – elbows, heels, hips, buttocks and even the face if the elder has been lying in the same position for a very long time on their face
* Moisture makes the skin breakdown faster
* Chair positioning is as important as positioning an elder in bed – slouching in a chair can cause wounds on the spine and the elbow
* If the elder is sitting in a wheelchair for long periods of time, a well made cushion not only will provide better weight distribution, sitting balance and pressure redistribution but also provide a more stable surface for the elder to sit on and prevent the “sling-seat” so common in wheelchairs.
Things to look for in the products you choose:
* Is the fabric soft?
* Is the fabric one that will wick moisture away from the skin- such as cotton – and not an airtight fabric that will create moisture?
* Is the fabric or product washable (very important for infection control)?
* Does the product come with a gel insert?
* If preventing skin breakdown on the elder’s heel – does the product provide for an air cavity under the heel as if floating?
* If the elder is incontinent of urine or stool – choose an incontinent product that wicks away the moisture from the elder’s skin
An investment in pressure relieving products is an investment in pain prevention, saves time and money.
BY Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wilshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THE ELDERLY PERSON’S SKIN THE WAY THE NURSING HOME NURSE WOULD-AND PREVENT WOUNDS | Eldercare Tips | Caregiver Tips
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