Whether they are called pressure sores, bed sores, or decubitus ulcers…they are all the same. These horrible wounds are painful and often deadly when they become infected. Estimates indicate that somewhere between 1 and 3 million Americans will suffer from painful pressure sores each year.
Most bed sores can be prevented if the resident is repositioned every 2 hours as required by the standard of care. This movement or repositioning prevents pressure and friction to the same area of the body over long periods of time. As a matter of fact, I have never seen a bed sore on a patient where it was clear he/she was turned or repositioned every two hours.
In addition to repositioning, a new study confirms the importance of nutrition and diet in the prevention of pressure sores.
The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel’s (NPUAP) study concluded as follows:
1. Compromised nutritional status such as unintentional weight loss, undernutrition, protein energy malnutrition (PEM), and dehydration
deficits are known risk factors for pressure ulcer development.
2. Other nutrition-related risk factors associated with increased risk of
pressure ulcers include low body mass index (BMI), reduced food intake, and impaired ability to eat independently.
The study is too involved to accurately summarize here but any family who has a loved on in a nursing home who suffers from a bed sore, decubitus ulcer, or pressure sore should make this article mandatory reading. Even better, print off a copy of the study and make an appointment with your nursing home’s dietician or nutritionist and ask if the guidelines in the study are being followed by the facility.
I bet you the guidelines are being ignored!