Decubitus Prevention, Treatment

Decubitus, pressure ulcers, and bedsores are the same thing. This disease is getting more common due to the aging of society. The population is aging, the treatment of the elderly has become an everyday task for families. Bedridden patients need special treatment and not only the hospitals but families have to adapt to this situation.

Of course, decubitus can occur in the younger generation too. After an unexpected accident that caused a broken leg, even the youngest have to stay in bed for a long time.

It is essential to know the effects of pressure ulcers. What is the cause of decubitus? How can you prevent pressure ulcers? Hot to treat bedsores?

Decubitus meaning and definition

Decubitus is the Latin name for pressure ulcers. Decubitus refers to skin tissue damaged by permanent pressure, shear force, friction, or a combination of these effects. If it’s not prevented and treated normally, skin cells and even bone cells can die during this disease.

Open and closed wounds, both occur during the stages of decubitus. In case of closed wounds the tissues are already dead but a thin layer of skin covers the wound. This kind of decubitus mostly occurs after long surgeries that use anesthesia.

What is the cause of decubitus ulcers?

The primary cause of decubitus ulcers is the time that the patient spends in bed. Unfortunately, bedridden patients easily develop decubitus ulcers, especially when they have limited mobility. Elderly and paralyzed patients with pathological weaknesses or the ones with multiple sclerosis or stroke are at particular risk.

Decubitus is also common within diabetic people and patients with cardiovascular problems due to small vessel injuries. Various prostheses and wheelchairs can also lead to bedsores.

The development of bedsores can be further exacerbated by sweating during a fever because the skin becomes permanently moist. This process leads to a deterioration of the skin’s natural defense layers that causes various pathogens to settle on its surface.

How long does it take to get bedsores?

It only takes a couple of days to get bedsores if it isn’t prevented correctly. Decubitus first appears on body parts that are permanently under pressure, and because the small vessels are compressed, the nutrient supply to the body is slower. So the answer to the question depends on that: the higher the pressure, the sooner will the symptoms worsen. The age of the patient also matters – a lot.

It can only take a day, but most of the time reaching the first stage takes up to 4-7 days.

Due to the big pressure, the body cannot transfer enough oxygen through the blood. This leads to a lack of oxygen in deeper tissues, causing the formation of toxins, and then, the proliferation of pathogens. As a result of this process, cells and tissues die.

Moving the patient has to be a cautious process. The patient has to be moved, dressed, and bathed with great care.

In order to recognize pressure ulcers, the skin’s surface has to be examined, especially the

  • shoulder,
  • sacrum,
  • hip,
  • elbow,
  • heel.

Search for bruises and wounds.

Signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers

What are the signs of pressure ulcers?

Firstly you can only recognize the redness of the skin, which is slightly inflamed. It quickly turns to be itchy and burning, followed by increasing pain. The feel of discomfort depends on how advanced the decubitus is.

In the following, we describe the stages of pressure ulcers and the symptoms of them.

Pressure ulcers stages

The development of pressure ulcers has four distinct stages, according to the depth of the wound. The later the treatment begins, the harder it gets to heal bedsores.

Stage 1 pressure ulcers

Starting with the redness of the skin that disappears if you touch it and reappears after a short time, stage 1 is not that hard to heal. The skin is warm, vulnerable and the patient can feel a bit of pain. Weepy (watery) and painful swelling may also occur.

In the case of people with dark skin, discoloration, warmth, sensitiveness, edema and the hardening of the skin can be the main signs of stage 1 decubitus.

Stage 2 pressure ulcers

Partial epithelial deficiency may appear both above and below the skin’s surface. The painful area is largening, the skin is hot and epithelial. Decubitus is starting to look like a bruise.

At this stage, pressure ulcers can be effectively treated, thus preventing the development of deep, ulcersative decubitus. If there is no serious intervention, decubitus enters stage 3 in just a couple of hours.

Stage 3 pressure ulcers

In the third stage, erosion involves the full depth of the epithelial layer and from the bruise, a wound emerges. It’s hard to treat stage 3 decubitus so the goal is to prevent the patients from reaching this phase.

The characteristics of stage 3 pressure ulcers:

  • a large amount of skin loss,
  • necrosis,
  • the underlying tissues are also damaged or already dead,
  • the muscle membrane might be injured too,
  • wound edges have the formation of a crater or cavity,
  • and the wound is black and has an unpleasant odor.

The affected area responds by inflammation and increasing pain; the wound expands and oozing increases. Infected bedsores are usually an indication for antibiotic administration.

Stage 4 pressure ulcers

With stage 4 pressure ulcers, the patient has really low chances to ever heal properly. At this stage, there is a complete lack of skin with deep destruction and tissue death, and this also includes the injury, destruction, or death of the muscle and bone tissues of the area. At stage 4, even the bone tissue becomes visible.

Forming an open wound, we have to do everything to prevent the infection of the wound, because certain pathogens can cause even more serious trouble. Very rare, but not unprecedented is that the patient dies because of wound infection.

It is important to maintain proper blood circulation. To achieve that, the patient has to be depressurized, with rotation, moving, bed exercise, and massage on the endangered areas. Blood supply is key to improving the patient’s condition.

The danger is that even after the onset of symptoms, the patient’s condition may deteriorate even more rapidly.

Pressure ulcers treatment: how to treat bedsores?

Prevention is the most important, but if it’s already in one of the above-mentioned stages, proper treatment is inevitable for the patient. The spreading of pressure ulcers has to be prevented.

The treatment of decubitus is quite effective if the patient is treated several times a day by a specialist or a nurse. Special care is required when the patient is in a wheelchair, paralyzed, or immobile.

Treating pressure ulcers depends on which body part is affected. For example, heel pressure ulcers are treated with specialized heel pads that reduce pressure on the sole and heel.

Lowering the pressure is needed, the best way is to change the patient’s position every 15 minutes (if possible), and moving, massaging their body parts every 2 hours. Physiotherapy can do a lot to help with the condition, the aim is to improve circulation.

Different devices can be used for pressure relief, such as mattresses, special beds and chairs.

Change the bandage on the wounds several times a day, with a sterile, wet bandage. Change the bandage if it’s bloody or purulent.

Avoid using conventional wound powders and creams, because they block the oxygen from the wound making it more difficult to heal. In order to improve the patient’s condition, oxygen has to reach the tissues at lower levels.

Use dermolex gel instead before bandaging!

During treatment, pain relief might be a big help for the suffering patient. Ask the general practitioner for medicals or antibiotics to prevent inflammation. It is the GP’s responsibility.

Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to help the patient’s condition is the surgical removal of dead tissues.

A professional has to take into account skin types, examine how sensitive, dry, blushed it is.

Decubitus ulcers prevention with dermolex

How to prevent pressure ulcers? Herbs can play a complementary role in the prevention and treatment of bedsores. Our dermolex gel includes herbs like aloe vera, echinacea purpurea, or menthol.

Preventing decubitus requires careful attention. Not only continuous exercise and position changes helps prevention but also ointments and gels.

Strengthening and protecting the thin skin with dermolex gel is a good way to reduce the risk of developing decubitus.

Do you need more information about dermolex gel and its uses? Try our product!