Importance of Repositioning to Prevent Pressure Sores
To prevent the great discomfort and deterioration for which pressure sores are well known, it is most important to practice re-positioning yourself or your patient regularly.
Doing this will greatly help to encourage better blood flow to those areas supporting your body as you sit or lie down for prolonged periods of time.
When you sit or lie down, those areas of your body touching the chair/ bed are pressed against. This prevents free blood flow to those areas. After a while, if you do not move or change your sitting/ lying position, pressure builds up on that area.
Your body cells around that area become irritated and starts to itch and become a little swollen. That is the beginning of a progressive – and often swift – slide into skin damage, blood poisoning and internal organs exposure. Many times causing or increasing a disability or even death!
All that is preventable, if the simple – but not always easy – practice of constant body re-positioning is encouraged and faithfully practised by all concerned.
Here are a few tips to help you give the most care and attention to those body parts at risk of pressure sores, as you re-position, in the course of the day:
- The main purpose of re-positioning regularly is to encourage greater blood flow through the body. A major thing that also encourages blood flow is exercise. Gently massage and move the joints and pressure-prone areas as you shift positions.
- While moving/ shifting the body as you try to re-position, there is always an underlying risk of creating friction and tearing delicate skin. You can help prevent these, by placing slide sheets under the body part to be re-positioned.
- Encourage the use of pressure relieving products, mattresses and cushions to reduce the amount of pressure building up during those times between shifts.
- Apply embrocating lotions to rub/ massage the body parts at risk. This helps to lubricate and moisturize the skin, keeping it more supple and reducing cases of skin tearing/ friction.
The embrocating lotion itself helps to stimulate blood flow, even when you are not massaging the skin. Or when the body is not being re positioned at all. And will usually help to reduce pain as well.
All the best as you give great care to your body. Or to the body of your loved one/ patient. Your body – and theirs will love you for it!