How to Prevent Bed Sores for Wheelchair Users

How to Prevent Bed Sores for Wheelchair Users



Bed sores are a real problem for wheelchair users. Caregivers and users themselves need to be aware of this problem because the sores can develop sometimes even without patients realizing it, especially for wheelchair users who suffer from any kind of paralysis or sensory problems.


What are Bed Sores?


As described by Mayo Clinic, bedsores or pressure ulcers/decubitus ulcers are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. You can read more about bed sores from Mayo Clinic here.


As you have read, bed sores are developed due to prolonged pressure on the skin. Wheelchair users are at risk of developing bed sores because they are mostly seated on the chair. There are however ways to prevent them.


Preventing Bed Sores


  1. Repositioning


Wheelchair users are not encouraged to remain in the same position on the wheelchair for long hours at a time. It is recommended to reposition every couple of hours by doing slight shifts in the sitting position. If possible standing up for a few minutes will help a lot. For users who are unable to stand or reposition themselves, consider using a standing wheelchair. Standing wheelchairs allow users to reposition themselves almost effortlessly with the help of a few buttons and levers that trigger the motorized wheelchair. You can learn more about standing wheelchairs here.


  1. Watching Out for Signs of Bed Sores


Look out for pressure signs on the skin in areas that are in contact for long hours. Tenderness or discoloration of the skin are early signs of developing sores. If you come across such symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.


  1. Use More Padding


Whether in a wheelchair or bed, more padding or cushioning helps. For wheelchairs there are options of sitting pillows or air pillows that can help reduce pressure, and for mattresses you can use pads like egg-crate pads for better weight distribution. More soft padding is needed for bony areas like elbows, hips, or ankles.


  1. Wheelchair Exercises


Wheelchair exercises are a great way to ensure that the user doesn’t remain in one position for too many hours. Even simple breathing exercises and stretches will help. There are a tonne of wheelchair exercises to try and suit different conditions.


Bed sores can be extremely painful and not to be taken lightly. So if you are a wheelchair user or a caregiver, remember to take the necessary precautions. Prevention is always better than cure.