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Pressure Sore Resource Guide

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Pressure sores are no joke. So here is our complete guide to preventing, identifying, and managing them.

With immobilization, there is alway the risk of bedsores. Bedsores or pressure ulcers affect over 3 million people and result in almost 60,000 deaths annually. A large majority of pressure sores are preventable and/or curable.

Let's start off by addressing the basics:

Pressure Sore Stages:

Pressure sore stages range from 1 to 4, with stage 5 being unmanageable.

Take a look at the graphic below to identify the scale of pressure sores. You can also download a comprehensive staging guide here.

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Graphic from Rosefield Injury Lawyers and designed by Milkwhale

Tips to prevent, identify, and manage pressure sores.

This is a collection of tips and advice provided by our wonderful Living Spinal customers, many whom shared their personal stories on how they deal with pressure sores.

Please read below for their wonderful advice:

Prevention:

  • Make sure to move constantly (if possible) and to not lie in the same position for hours on end.
  • Get somebody to check you daily!  Every time you change the bed or equipment, have someone check and see if there are any new developments with your skin (redness and/or swelling) especially in places you cannot view.
  • Whenever you get out of a chair you should also be doing a visual of everything; legs, butt, feet, any irritation on your body should be noted. 
  • Get and stay active and do as many transfers during the day as possible.
  • Buy a good cushion. Honeycomb pattern. Unbreakable, waterproof, machine washable, and light. One of our customers suggests having multiple cushions.Two for your wheelchair and one for showers (so you don’t have to sit on anything hard). 
  • Make sure your cushion is working properly. Always check the inflation on your cushion (if applicable) and make sure there are no wrinkles and that gel cushions are fitted the way you want them to work.
  • Be aware of the type of clothing you wear. Make sure that all the material is not wrinkled when you are sitting as wrinkles can cause a pressure sores as well.
  • For cotton underwear, make sure the elastic isn’t digging into your skin and causing a pressure sore.
  • Make sure you put your foot in your shoes, not your shoes on your foot. This is so you know your foot is placed properly in your shoe.
  • Be aware of the skin on your bottom. Slideboards put a lot of tension on your skin, so try some baby powder on the your transfer device to help you slide better.  
  • One of our customers highly recommends using Aveeno skin lotion with skin protection. The "skin protectant" in Aveeno helps to build up your skin's barrier.

Identification:

  • Check out the pressure sore staging guide above to identify if you have a sore and if so, what stage it is at.
  • Pressure sores usually start out with spots of redness and swelling, so if you get someone to check out daily, have them note any new developments with your skin especially in places you cannot view.
  • Moisture can cause your skin to break down easier and make you more susceptible for sores (especially if you aren't in control of bowel or bladder). So be sure to identify any area that might be prone to excess moisture exposure.
  • Listen to your body. Everyone should be aware of any changes with your body, if you start sweating or don’t feel comfortable, that is a good indication that something isn’t great.

Management:

  • If you develop a pressure sore, stay off of it and rest  for longer than usual (in a position that takes the weight off of the area with the pressure sore). 
  • Eat healthily. It speeds up the healing to nourish your body correctly. If you need help with identifying good for you foods, check out our wheelchair weightloss guide. 
  • Get some emotional support while you are on bedrest. Talk to someone that’s gone through it. It helps to have someone to empathize with. 
  • Find an enjoyable activity to pass the time while on bedrest. From reading to binge watching your favorite show...allow your body ample time to heal itself.  
  • Pressure sores can happen really quickly and you wont know how long you will be bedridden for, but it is never as long or as bad as you think it is.

Our Favorite Wheelchair Cushions

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Roho Quadtro Select Cushion Supracor Stimulite Contoured Sling Bottom Cushion Roho Hybrid Elite
$357 $411.99 $369 
Learn More Learn More Learn More 

Our Favorite Shower Chairs/ Transfer Benches

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Wheelable Commode and Shower Chair Ultra Slick Transferring Board Easy Glide Transfer System
$995 $58.95 $761.50
Learn More Learn More Learn More

 


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Wheelchair Activity Tracker

It's also nice to download a phone App to track your fitness and push count. This will let you know if you are sitting still too long and need to start moving and shift positions. 

We recommend this one:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fit-wheelchair/id1128257768?mt=8

 


We hope you enjoyed our Pressure Sore Resource Guide. Send us your tips and tricks for pressure sore management and prevention and we would love to feature your advice on Living Spinal!


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