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“I’ve tried other systems. My bedsores didn’t heal, and the thing fell apart after one year. I’ve had my Völkner® for three years now, and all this time my skin is STILL healthy! I love it! Can’t be without it!”
“For 16 years since my accident, I had to be woken up every two hours, every night to be manually turned—with my Völkner®, not only do I sleep, but my wife finally gets some rest!”
“My doctor wanted to perform skin-flap surgery, but needed to wait a month until I got over my bought of pneumonia. My husband insisted on putting me on a Völkner® in the meantime. After just 30 days, my skin had healed so much and my doctor was so impressed that he reported NO surgery was needed! Thank you James Consolidated!”
“My daughter is a ventilator dependant, C-4 quadriplegic. We originally bought the Völkner® Turning System to keep her from getting bedsores. However, after the first few weeks, we noticed she had less fluid in her lungs, and required less suctioning. Her skin is healthy too. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
How to Prevent and Treat Bed Sores
Pressure sores, also known as bedsores and pressure ulcers, are diagnosed by visual examination. A good diagnosis will accurately measure the patient’s risk of developing them. In order to do this, the doctor will consider the patient’s:
- Health condition
- Level of mobility
- Blood circulation
- Signs and symptoms of an infection
- Mental health
- Mental state
- Personal history of bedsores
The patient must go through daily checkups to find out of there are signs of pressure sores. Be it at the hospital, hospice, or at home, the caregiver, or the patient himself, has to look for discoloration of the skin, and must touch the skin to identify any abnormal texture.
The treatment options
There is no easy treatment for pressure sores. An open wound will not heal fast, and even if it heals, the area may remain irregular because some skin and other tissues have suffered irreparable damage.
In order to effectively care for pressure sores, the patient’s family or caregiver must pay attention to several aspects, and should look for the advice of these specialists:
- A dietician
- A gastroenterologist
- A neurosurgeon
- An orthopedic surgeon
- A physical therapist
- A plastic surgeon
- A social worker
- A urologist
- An incontinence advisor
The first step in treating any bedsore, no matter how severe, is to get rid of the pressure that is causing it. This can be done in two ways:
By changing positions
The patient must be turned and repositioned constantly. By putting sheepskin or other type of padding on the wound, the caregiver may help reduce the friction when moving the person. In any case, this task eventually becomes devastating for both the patient and the caregiver, since it has to be done continually all night long as well as during the day.
With supporting surfaces
Special beds, pads, cushions, and mattresses, help diminish the pressure on sores and protect skin areas that are at risk. The support used will depend on the level of mobility of the patient, his or her size, and the gravity of the sore. Experts recommend a pressure mattress, which turns the patient automatically after a certain period of time has passed.
Other treatments include:
- Cleaning the wound
The wound has to be clean all the time. It may be cleaned with mild soap and water or a saline solution, depending on its gravity.
- Controlling incontinence
The patient must be kept dry and clean as much as possible, ideally, always.
- Removing dead or infected tissue (Debridement)
The wound will never heal if dead or infected tissue is not eliminated. There are different debridement options:
- Maggot therapy
Maggots feed on infected and dead tissue, and never touch the healthy one; they release a bacteria-killing substance, and promote healing.
- Using dressings
These protect the wound and encourage healing. Its type will depend on the gravity of the wound, but in general, the wound has to be kept moist while the tissue around it has to remain dry.
This is used to clean the skin, and to naturally remove dead and contaminated skin.
- Maggot therapy
- Oral antibiotics
These are used in case of infection.
- Good nutrition
Wounds heal better if the patient consumes enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals, especially vitamin C and zinc, as well as enough calories.
- Relief from muscle spasms
Spasms may be reduced through muscle relaxants.
In very serious cases of bedsores, surgery may be necessary, regardless of the treatment being given. The surgery intends to improve the sore's appearance, clean it up, treat or prevent infection, reduce fluid loss, and lower the risk of cancer.
The prevention options
It is much easier to prevent pressure sores than to treat them, however, their prevention doesn’t come without a struggle. There are many aspects to consider and many routines to put into practice, which include position changes, supportive devices, routine skin inspections, and a balanced diet.
Regular position changing is crucial for bedsore prevention. Pressure sores develop very quickly; thus, the patient has to be moved very frequently to maintain the skin's integrity. This is no easy task; it requires constant attention from the caregiver, during day and night, compromising both the patient and caregiver's sleep and rest quality. A pressure mattress effectively solves this issue, because it turns the patient automatically every 9 minutes.
Best bed positions
A professional physical therapist should inform the patient about the best bed positions. Some are:
- Lying on his or her side at a 30-degree angle, not directly on the hipbone. Legs should be well supported.
- Using pillows or pads to keep knees and ankles apart from each other.
- Keeping the head of the bed under 30 degrees, for less friction.
- Using a pressure mattress or bed is ideal. It could be a foam, air, gel, or water mattress.
If there's a pressure release, the patient can sit for longer periods of time, otherwise, they have to move every 15 minutes. Cushions are needed to reduce pressure while they provide comfort and support.
- Skin inspections
These should take place every day. The patient himself can do it with a mirror, or he can ask a family member or the caregiver for help. Areas to be checked are: hips, spine, shoulder blades, elbows, heels, lower back, buttocks, tailbone, legs, and feet.
A balanced diet is vital to maintain the skin's health and to promote fast healing, however, the people that need a good diet the most are the ones that seldom eat well. The advice of a dietician or nutritionist is imperative to identify what the patient needs.
If the patient is a smoker, the best thing he or she can do to prevent pressure sores is to quit smoking. As soon as he or she does, the healing process will speed up.
It improves circulation, strengthens muscles, enhances general health and fuels a healthy appetite. Even patients who are bedridden have the possibility to exercise regularly.
The pressure mattress system, the Völkner® Turning System, is indispensable for bedsore prevention. The Völkner® is a pressure mattress turning system that automatically turns bedridden patients. Some Völkner® models offer an automated 9 minute turning cycle, while other Völkner® models offer more timing options, such as 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 or 60 minute cycles. We have models that offer different degrees of turning angles and models that can hold the inflation on the left side or the right side only.
Visit our website and check out the Völkner® pressure mattress’s numerous and life enhancing benefits. Read what it has already done for others in their testimonials, learn what we stand for, and contact us with any question or concerns. We want our pressure mattress system to make your loved one’s life, and yours, much easier and enjoyable.