Preventing Patient Bedsores

The main goal of CNA training is understanding how to provide proper patient care. As a certified nursing assistant you will be caring for all types of patients. Some of your patients will have limited mobility and it will be your responsibility to make sure that they are properly taken care of. One of the main goals as a certified nursing assistant working with patients who have little to no mobility is preventing bedsores. Bedsores can be very painful and if left untreated can be fatal.

Bedsores can occur for a variety of reasons. For patients that have little or no mobility bedsores occur from prolonged pressure on a particular area. Because of the pressure the affected area is deprived of oxygen and the tissue and muscle of that area begin to deteriorate.

Other factors that cause bedsores are repeated friction on a particular body part and incontinence and improper cleaning of the area. There are particular people who are more at risk for developing bedsores. People who are diabetic and have circulatory problems are at an increased risk since their circulation is already compromised.

People who are paralyzed and cannot feel pain in particular are at a higher risk for bedsores because they cannot feel the discomfort that is usually associated with this condition. It is the responsibility of certified nursing assistants to prevent and treat bedsores promptly.

Preventing bedsores should be the goal of a certified nursing assistant. Bedsores are very painful and can be difficult to treat depending on the patient’s condition so prevention is the key. Nursing assistants are trained to prevent bedsores by providing around the clock attention to their patients. One of the first methods to preventing a bedsore is to rotate the patient on a regular basis. For patients that are immobile this is particularly important and this should be a team effort by all CNAs assigned to take care of a patient on all shifts.

Rotation ensures that all areas of the body are receiving proper circulation and that pressure doesn’t build on one area of the body for too long. Placing a sheet beneath the patient that can be grasped on both ends can assist in the rotation. Another method for preventing bedsores is to reduce moisture on the skin. Patients should not be allowed to lie in their waste. This is unacceptable and inhumane and certified nursing assistants should be diligent in changing their patients on a regular schedule. Improper cleanliness can result in the breakdown of a patient’s skin. Use of ointments such as petroleum jelly or A&D ointment can aide in preventing bedsores.  When drying a patient after changing blot the area with a dry cloth instead of rubbing as this may cause irritation. Other methods of preventing bedsores include using medical pads to reduce friction from movement and providing the patient with adequate nutrients is helpful.

Given that bedsores are preventable, it is disturbing when so many patients suffer the results of improper maintenance and care. It is the job of the certified nursing assistant to monitor a patient’s skin care each day and make sure that any changes are noted to a nurse so that proper treatment can be initiated.

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