Wheelchair pressure sores are similar to bedsores in that they form from the skin being pressed against a hard surface for prolonged periods of time. These are often also known as pressure sores, whether they arise from being in a wheelchair or from in bed for long periods of time. Often, the elderly need preventative measures, such as pressure relief exercises or wheelchair cushions to prevent pressure sores. Read on to learn more about pressure sores and how to prevent wheelchair pressure sores in the elderly.
Pressure Sores in the Elderly: What Are They?
Pressure sores are also known as bedsores (even if they result from being in a wheelchair for long periods) or decubitus ulcers. Pressure sores develop from the pressure on the skin that occurs from hard materials pressing against it for long periods of time. Eventually, ulcers and blisters occur, which can be exceedingly painful. To prevent pressure sores in wheelchair users, caregivers and loved ones must be especially aware. Wheelchair pressure relief can come in several forms, including exercises.
Preventing Pressure Sores in Wheelchair Users: Risk Factors
There are certain risk factors that can predispose pressure sores, so it’s a good idea to be aware of these as well as being on the lookout for pressure sores themselves. If your loved one:
- Spends a good deal of time in a wheelchair, bed, or is otherwise immobile for long periods
- Is extremely overweight or obese, or underweight
- Is incontinent
- Have decreased feeling in a certain area (e.g., after a stroke)
Any of these factors can contribute to pressure sores in the elderly, both in wheelchairs and out. However, wheelchair cushions for pressure relief and other measures can help.
Wheelchair Pressure Sores: Finding Relief
To find ways to prevent or relieve pressure sores in the elderly, caregivers and loved ones should take certain measures. Here are some things you can do:
- Make sure a physical therapist checks the wheelchair once or twice a year to ensure a perfect fit.
- Have a caregiver shift the patient’s weight in the wheelchair every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Look into wheelchair cushions for pressure sores.
- Check for pressure sores often to ensure they aren’t forming.
- If the patient is somewhat mobile, get them moving as much as possible.
- Keep skin dry and clean to prevent pressure sores in the elderly.
When possible, try to get your patient or loved one to follow a healthy diet and exercise as much as possible. Exercise and mobility can be challenging when a patient is immobile, but there are ways to get moving (such as moving in water) that can help get immobile patients back on track, preventing pressure sores in the elderly. Also, following a healthy diet can help prevent obesity, which can lead to the formation of ulcers.
Pressure-relieving cushions for wheelchairs or pressure cushions for the elderly can be beneficial when it comes to the prevention of pressure sores. There are different types of cushions, which are appropriate for stage 1, 2, or 3 types of pressure ulcers, and help relieve the pain. They can also prevent the formation of sores before they form.
To learn more about how to prevent wheelchair pressure sores in the elderly, or to learn more about life-changing mobility products, such as power recliner chairs and stairlifts, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both patients and caregivers to live their best lives.