Bed Sores, also known as pressure sores, lesions common found in the elderly or bedridden that, if left untreated, are often fatal. One of the leading iatrogenic causes of death in developed countries, pressure sores (also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) are caused by a number of factors including: unrelieved pressure, friction, humidity, shearing forces, temperature, age, continence, and medication. Bed sores can form on any part of the body, especially bony or cartilaginous areas such as the elbows, knees, head, sacrum, ankles, and hips. Bed Sores are completely preventable as long as the proper precautions are taken.
The first and most important way to prevent bed sores and pressure sores is to relieve the pressure by turning the patient every two hours. Depending on the patient's condition, numerous products can be used as a barrier for their skin to help prevent the formation of bed sores. Gelbodies use a pressure relieving gel called TRUGEL commonly found in high-end wheelchair cushions encased in a cotton-lycra material that feels soft against the skin and keeps it cool. By relieving pressure, Gelbodies not only help prevent bed sores, but they also provide added comfort and improved circulation. Gelbodies are available for parts of the body where bed sores are commonly found, such as heels, elbows, and shins.
For patients that are bedridden, a convoluted foam mattress overlay can be added to the bed to relieve pressure and prevent bed sores. The egg crate style pad distributes body weight evenly and provides cool, dry, comfortable place to sleep. Caregivers will also use sheepskin products to help prevent bed sores and pressure sores. Natural medical sheepskin products by Sheepskin Ranch are available to protect elbows and heels, and are also available as bed pads and wheelchair cushions.
Bed sores and pressure sores are very dangerous and often fatal. Besides considerable pain, bed sores can lead to autonomic dysreflexia, bladder distension, osteomyelitis, pyarthroses, sepsis, amyloidosis, anemia, urethral fistula, gangrene and very rarely malignant transformation. Often, sores can be recurring because patients and caregivers have not followed bed sore prevention guidelines or they have developed an infection. Paralytic patients are the most common sufferers of bed sores, such as the case with actor Christopher Reeve who passed away in 2004 from complications related to a pressure ulcer. However, if the proper precautions are taken, bed sores are completely preventable. Browse this section for the best choices of products to help prevent pressure sores from forming.