Patients should be repositioned regularly to prevent the discomfort that could result from pressure sores. This will help to promote blood flow to areas of the body if you are sitting or lying down for extended lengths of times. When you sit or lie for long periods in a chair or bed, the parts of your body in contact with the firm surface decreases the blood flow. If you don’t move for a long time or at least change your position, there will be a buildup of pressure on that contact point. That contact area becomes irritated and begins to swell and itch. This is the start of a progressive and usually fast slip into skin damage, internal organ exposure and even blood poisoning. The result can often be a worsening of the disability and could in extreme cases cause death. The good news is that this is preventable by simply repositioning the body on a regular basis. Below are a few tips to help with the care of someone who needs to be repositioned throughout the day so that pressure sores can be avoided:
- The main reason for repositioning the body on a regular basis is to increase the blood flow. Exercise always increases blood flow. A gentle massage of the parts of the body under pressure and moving the joints will encourage the movement of blood.
- Care must be taken when shifting or moving to reposition the body as friction on delicate skin could cause it to tear. To keep this from happening, use slide sheets under the pressure area when repositioning the body.
- Pressure relieving products like mattresses and cushions should be used to minimize the pressure that builds up between repositionings.
- Rub or massage the problem areas using embrocating lotions. This will help to moisturize and lubricate the skin making it supple and prevent the skin from tearing and reducing friction.