Bedridden patients are likely to develop bedsores. When patients cannot move due to illness or injury, their motion is restricted, which makes most parts of their body stiff, especially the joints. As the body becomes harder and inflexible, slowly they begin to lose sensation, which causes bedsores in the affected area. Mostly, those parts that hold the body weight and one that is in constant touch with the bed sheet gets bedsores. Since the reverse side of the body such as spine, buttocks, shoulder blades, elbows and knees are in touch with the bedclothes, problem usually occurs in these areas.
The early signs of a bedsore are the skin becoming red, tender and inflamed. After few days, the affected area changes its color to purple. Constant rubbing of that area against the bed sheet causes the skin to break developing into an ulcer or sore. When such condition prospers, patients suffer from lots of pain and become uncomfortable. The most disheartening part of this dilemma is the time taken to heal. The only step to avoid this condition is to reposition the patient on the bed, and make them do ROM (Range of Motion) exercises.
Applying ROM exercises on bedridden patients helps in preventing bedsores. Not only the comfort level of the patients, but also the blood circulation within the body is increased. Further, it helps in regaining flexibility in the stiffed parts of the body. Nursing assistants can help patients with these exercises during their stay in a hospital, or they can volunteer to assist them at their home. However, before giving them ROM therapy, caregivers should take instruction from a trained therapist.
ROM therapy is given to patients who cannot move their body on their own, and who needs assistance in doing so. With the former type of patients, the given exercise is referred as passive ROMs. This means the total initiative rests on the caregiver to provide the therapy. In the latter type of patients, the ROMs therapy is done in conjunction.
Only trained individuals have to give these curing exercises to the patients. When experienced and trained hands are applied in this endeavor, there are positive chances of making patients comfortable, and increasing joints flexibility.
In the future, if you are the caretaker of a patient and need to make him/her comfortable, you must follow these simple ROM exercises to help prevent bedsores.
- If you are giving the ROMs exercises at a hospital, the first thing you should do while starting the curing process is to secure the bed to the ground by locking its wheels. Do the same thing if the patient is on the wheelchair. With a home-based patient, just take care that the bed does not shift or shake during the exercise process.
- Next, position the bed to a comfortable position. The height of the bed should not make you to stretch your arms, back or other muscles. You can also apply this therapy while sitting on a stool next to the bed. Whether you are standing or sitting during the treatment, ensure a correct body posture, breathing deeply and in a constant motion.
- Follow the body structure and start with the head. Slowly and gently, massage the head to stimulate blood circulation. Work down to the neck, shoulder and lastly to the toes. This way, you will be helping each body part to relax, and the patient will feel comfortable.
- Do not over exceed and cross the restriction limit. While working on the muscles and joints, you have to be careful. The pressure exerted by your hands should not cause pain to patients. If any of action is painful for the patient, you must avoid and consult the physiotherapist to find some alternative for that particular exercise.
- Fix a particular timetable for the exercises considering yours as well as the patient’s comfort. Once you follow the routine, soon it will be a habit. In addition, follow the exercise order. This way, you will never forget any step, and you can finish it smoothly.
- If there is any need to change the exercises, please consult with the doctors and physiotherapist. When you are done with the therapy, make the patient lie in a comfortable position.
So, whether as an individual or a nursing assistant, if you ever to want to take care of your family member or a patient, these tips will answer your question on how to use simple ROM exercises to help prevent bedsores. A strict advice is to get complete training in this regard from a professional before applying this therapy.