Home Authors Posts by Craig Hood
There’s no two ways about it, urinary incontinence is no fun. Thankfully, those who do suffer from this, all-to-common condition can take steps that will help live an independent and active life. Plenty of products and treatments exist in the market today that can help people to discretely manage incontinence.
The first step may be to admit that there is an issue. It can become easy to isolate yourself from your friends, family, and loved ones. Many times, incontinence can be a side-effect of a more serious condition, so it is essential that you take steps to look into a solution.(1) If you are experiencing incontinence, it is important to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. It may be embarrassing, but doctors deal with incontinence issues on a daily basis, so there is no reason to feel shame when admitting that you share a condition with millions of other Americans.
There are many causes of incontinence. For some, it is just part of aging. Men may have prostate problems that contribute to incontinence. Women may experience leakage after childbirth. Obesity is one of the most common reasons for incontinence, which can be reduced or even eliminated by simply changing your diet and exercising more frequently. Stress incontinence often happens when a person sneezes, coughs, or laughs, so it may be possible to manage it by first realizing what is causing the accidents. An overactive bladder can cause urge incontinence, which is defined by a sudden urgency to urinate before it happens.(2)
At the doctor’s appointment, you can expect them to ask detailed questions about your lifestyle to try and determine what exactly the root of the incontinence is. It is important that you provide honest information and work with the doctor to figure out the problem. Determining the reason for incontinence can involve some careful detective work, so it is important that you give the physician as much pertinent information as possible. Even seemingly, unrelated medical issues, can actually play a major role.
The doctor may also do blood or urine tests to determine if there is an infection or any sort of abnormality that is causing accidents. Once the cause has been determined, the healthcare provider will usually be able to recommend a proper course of action which may include exercises, supplements, lifestyle changes, and any number of other suggestions that may reduce the frequency of incontinence, and sometimes even stop it altogether.
If you are still experiencing incontinence after medical treatment, you will want to purchase products like adult diapers, bed pads, and other items that will help to keep accidents discreet and manageable.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your incontinence and other health supplies.
(1) – http://www.healthcentral.com/incontinence/c/52/21859/symptom/
(2) – http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/coping-12/slideshow-incontinence-embarrassment
Urinary catheters are divided into three main types: External, Intermittent, and Indwelling. Depending on the patient, and application, picking the best catheter requires an understanding of the variations and benefits provided by each.
External catheters are designed for men, and often are also called condom catheters, Texas catheters. External catheters are made from silicone, consist of an outer sheath that covers the penis, and has an opening at the tip to allow urine to flow into a collection device.
Rochester Medical is a manufacturer that has been producing external catheters for over 30 years and has pioneered an adhesion process that keeps the catheter in place for long periods of time. They are known for the development of the WideBand brand of condom catheters that utilize an adhesive inside the entire sheath wall of the catheter. This process ensures that urine does not migrate from the tip compromising the adhesive and requiring catheter replacement.
Ambulatory patients can use external catheters, along with a leg bag collection device, as an alternative to wearing an adult brief. Male quadriplegics may also use external catheters as they may not have the dexterity to self catheterize using an intermittent catheter. The external catheter may be left in place all day and accommodate active lifestyles.
Intermittent catheters are inserted into the urethrae to immediately drain urine from the bladder and are designed for one time use. Both men and women use the intermittent catheter which are typically the best choice for an active wheelchair user or someone with a postoperative bladder or prostrate challenge.
Intermittent Catheter Tip Types
Different tips and connection ends are available on intermittent catheters. Tips are either straight or curved (also called a Coudé-tipped). Depending on the patient’s condition, insertion may be easier with a curved tip over a straight tip1. The Olive Tip is another variation of the curved tip catheter designed to facilitate easier insertion for female catheter users.
Intermittent Catheter Material
Intermittent catheters are packaged individually in a sterile container. Most are made from Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC and coated with a hydrophilic material to ease insertion. The application of a hydrophilic polymer, mainly polyvinyl-pyrrolidone (PVP) to the exterior of the catheter creates a super slick surface when mixed with water. This makes insertion and extraction easy and lessons the risk of UTIs and urethral complications2. The alternative to hydrophilic coated catheters is the use of a sterile lubricant gel like Surgilube.
Closed / Sterile Systems
A closed system intermittent catheter combines an intermittent catheter in a self-contained drainage bag. The catheter is typically hydrophilic coated or pre-lubricated and also features an introducer tip – a plastic tip that shields the catheter from bacteria as it’s passed through the distil urethrae. The distal urethra is the first few centimeters of the urethrae and considered a location where harmful bacteria reside which may result in UTIs3 during catheterization. The outer bag of the closed system also provides a way to hold the catheter without risking contamination by touching it directly during the insertion process.
Indwelling catheters are also called Foley catheters or balloon catheters. Foley catheters are designed to be inserted into the bladder by a health care professional and remain in place for longer periods. The Foley catheter has a connection end that can be attached to a drain bag, leg bag, or collection bag and a small balloon at the insertion end. The balloon is inflated after the Foley is inserted into the bladder allowing it to remain in place. To remove the Foley catheter, the balloon is deflated and the catheter can be extracted. Foley catheters are typically made from rubber or silicone material.
Foley catheters are most often used in a medical setting, for patients undergoing surgical procedures, or those who are bedbound for long periods of time.
Understanding the three types of urological catheters will ensure the best patient application. From external, intermittent, or Foley, choosing the right catheter may reduce the risk of UTIs, enhance patient mobility and create greater independence.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your catheter and home health care supply nees.
1) Review of Intermittent Catheterization and Current Best Practices, Diane K. Newman, MSN, ANP-BC, CRNP, FAAN, BCIA-PMDB, Margaret M. Willson, MSN, RN CWOCN, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/745908_8
2) Clean Intermittent Catheterization in Spinal Cord Injury Patients: Long-Term Follow-up of a Hydrophilic Low Friction Technique, Waller, Jonsson, Norlen, Sullivan, Journal of Urology, February 1995
3) The ‘no-touch’ method of intermittent urinary catheter insertion: can it reduce the risk of bacteria entering the bladder? Hudson E, Murahata RI. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852058
*** From: Patricia F. ***
I am a 52 years “young” woman who has rheumatoid arthritis(RA) and neurofibromatosis(NF). I am someone most would call very physically disabled because I need help with doing many things. My health problems started when I was 24 and needed surgery to remove a benign tumor (NF) from the base of my spine. Within a few months after the surgery my life of chronic pain began. It wasn’t long before I had to stop working and start seeing many different doctors in order to figure-out the right type of pain management for me. That took another 2-3 years total, during which time I had a brain aneurysm. Fortunately the outcome of that surgery was all positive; I had no complications what-so-ever.
By age 35 I was having problems with swelling, pain and stiffness primarily in my hands and feet. My family doctor referred me to a rheumatologist but it took almost 2 years for me to be diagnosed conclusively with RA. By then my hands had already started to change due to joint damage. Also, for some reason the doctors couldn’t explain, my body did not respond well to medications traditionally used to treat RA pain or those used to help fight the progression of damage to the joints. So my RA advanced rather quickly resulting in joint replacement surgeries in both hands and my cervical spine.
Now that I’ve given some of the highlights of my complicated health history I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned along the way. First, disease does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about the age, color, education, faith or income of it’s victims. That being said, for all those so fortunate to be in good health, please consider giving some of your time to help someone who is sick or disabled. I understand that it’s not so easy these days because most people lead such busy lives it seems. But I’m a believer of when you bless others (especially with your time), and do so with sincerity, that blessing comes back to you.
For those who are sick or disabled and fortunate enough to have people in your life that truly do care about you and care for you, show appreciation to them instead of taking it for granted, being stubborn, prideful or simply not trying to get along. It’s hard to be around people who constantly act that way and I don’t believe anyone truly wants to be alone all of the time.
I must admit that it took awhile for me to adjust to all of the changes life had for me. I’ve been through all of the different emotions you can imagine. Today, thanks to a loving and patient support system of family and friends- especially my husband, I’m not only still here but enjoy my life and am very thankful for it. There was a time when I honestly couldn’t say that but as my faith grew so did my understanding and perspective.
Huge life lesson . . . as bad as you may think your situation is there are others out there who have it so much worse. So instead of continuing to think about what you don’t have or can’t do concentrate on what you do have and be thankful. It can change your life!
Share your story with the Allegro community, just email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
It takes a lot to run a successful home care business in today’s environment of shrinking reimbursements, rising product costs and increased competition. You have to be an expert at patient care, finances, leadership, sales and marketing and much more just to keep pace. So much of any type of marketing nowadays, involves understanding online search and social media, which includes familiar names like Google, Yelp and Facebook. Many businesses make common mistakes when it comes to online marketing. Here are 5 simple tips to help grow your home care business online.
1) Put your phone number in a prominent place on your website – starting with your home page
Digital media specialists vSplash estimate that nearly half of small to medium size business websites fail to display their phone number on their website home page. Customers seeking information about your business may want to simply pick up the phone after finding your website and learn more about you, schedule an appointment or just see if someone picks up the phone. Along the same line, display an email address or “contact us” form. Also found by vSplash, 9 out of 10 websites failed to display an email address or contact form. While some customers may wish to reach out to your business over the phone, others will prefer a digital mode and would rather type out an email.
2) Increase your Google Page Rank to Show Up in Search Results
26% of local businesses do not show up in Google search results because their sites do not have a Google page rank. This means that Google is unaware that your website exists. Page rank is a ranking system developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergi Brinn. To increase your page rank, you need to convince other websites to link to your website. When another site links to your site, it passes some of its page rank to your website. The more popular the site linking to your website, the more page rank passed to your site. The first step in showing up in Google is getting other sites to link back to your site. Look for local resource websites for senior care; email them with your business information and ask them to link to your website. Or, host an event at your facility or someplace locally and submit a press release to the local news stations. Include a link to your website where you provide more information about the event. They will likely publish the information on their websites, linking back to your site to provide their audience more information. Voilà – you have just created back links to your site.
3) Stake your claim on Yelp.com
Yelp.com is an online resource that features business information and reviews and is used by millions each month. It’s likely that you already have a business listing on Yelp.com but in order to take advantage of their site you must “claim” your business. After some validation, you will be able to add additional information about your business making it more likely to show up in local search results on Google. According to Yelp, a business that claims it’s listing averages more than $8,000 in revenue per year over non-claimed businesses.
Create a Facebook page for your home care business. With over 1 billion users, it’s highly likely that your potential customers use Facebook and may make their decision whether or not to use your services based on what they see on your Facebook page. Take the time to create a Facebook page for your business; add an “about us” page, your logo, contact information, a link to your website and a profile pic to represent your business. Once created, post something daily to keep your audience engaged
5) Blog, blog, blog
Create a blog for your business; share your experience and knowledge. Blogs are easy to create and make a great way to publish relevant and interesting information to engage your potential customers. Post informative, helpful information on a regular basis. Be creative and think of topics your audience would want to read. Think about family members considering options for home care vs. skilled nursing; or, senior care homes vs. home care. There are benefits to almost any scenario. Write in an objective way that supports your view. Here’s your first writing assignment: “3 Mistakes People Make Selecting a Homecare Company”.
While the battle ground may be smaller, the war rages on at a local level, to capture the interest and attention of potential home care customers. Armed with knowledge and the right tools, your business can rise above all others and thrive in even the most competitive markets.
Allegro Medical has been selling medical supplies and home health care products online since 1997. Although much has changed since then, many online marketing fundamentals have remained the same. Start with these 5 tips and you are building a solid base that will act as the foundation for more advanced online marketing techniques.
“More than One-Quarter of SMB Websites Cannot Be Found in Online Searches” vSplash’s SMB DigitalScape.
“Facebook Tops Billion-User Mark”. The Wall Street Journal (New York). October 4, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
The Drive Winnie Wagon is capable of toting 10 times as many hot dogs and fireworks for Independence Day rabble-rousers as large-pocket cargo pants.
Americans turn out in droves to consume close to 1 billion pounds of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, steak and more over the 4th of July holiday. While busy charring to perfection such culinary delights, another 25 million pounds of fireworks will be purchased and detonated by professionals as well as finger-risking DIYers.
“All this carting and toting puts a tremendous burden on the average rabble-rouser”, says Craig Hood, Founder of AllegroMedical.com. According to Hood, the average person can carry 10 times as many hot dogs and fireworks using a folding shopping cart as opposed to just using your hands or large-pocket cargo pants.
For a limited time, AllegroMedical.com is offering the Drive Winnie Wagon, an outstanding folding shopping cart, well suited for carrying anything from fireworks and hot dogs to laundry and aluminum cans, for $29.99, a discount of $30 off the suggested list price. This special price ends Monday, July 7th.
For more information on the Drive Winnie Wagon Folding Shopping Cart visit: AllegroMedical.com.
Established in 1996, AllegroMedical.com was the first online medical supply superstore. Today, Allegro Medical offers discount prices on over 30,000 medical supplies, home healthcare products, incontinence products, wound care supplies, diabetic supplies and much more.
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and National Hot Dog & Sausage Council
Although diabetes has not yet been cured, there are products that make it possible to test blood glucose levels, and then administer insulin to achieve insulin balance. With the aid of a glucose meter and testing strips, a person with diabetes can accurately determine the best course of action. Although glucose meters tend to not have to be replaced very often, testing strips must be replenished often.
Although one individual testing strip may be very cheap, it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture. If you take the base cost of one testing strip, multiply it by how many times testing is done each day, and then multiply that by 365, you will see just how much money is being spent annually. When it comes to buying testing strips every penny counts. That’s why it is important to seek out the best possible options for saving money on them.
Most glucose meters also use specific testing strips in tandem with a particular device. When shopping for a glucose meter, it is essential that the buyer looks into testing strip costs as well as the basic cost of the meter. For example, a person may think that they are saving money buying a cheaper glucose meter, but if it requires expensive testing strips, then they are going to spend extra money down the line. A savvy consumer will realize that it may be worthwhile it to spend some extra money on a meter that uses cheaper testing strips.
Generic testing strips exist that offer a less expensive alternative to brand-name strips. The American Diabetes Association states that buying generic testing strips is safe, but some may be more accurate than others1. For those who require extremely accurate information, it would be wise to speak to a physician before making any changes.
Another way to cut down on costs is to buy your diabetic supplies in bulk online. The Internet has made it possible to find the lowest possible prices, and being able to buy in bulk will generally save money. In the case of testing strips, there is no risk to buying many of them, because they will definitely be needed. In addition, many people like the feeling of not having to worry about running out.
Some manufacturers provide rebates and coupons that may make buying their product more attractive. Again, it is important to consider the long-term picture in this situation. If these strips are normally expensive, but a coupon makes them cheaper, it would be wise to buy a large quantity. However, if that coupon is not available in the future, the result may be higher prices in the long run.
When it comes to saving money on medical supplies, the source is everything. At AllegroMedical.com, customers can expect to browse a massive selection of products for an excellent value. Diabetes can get expensive, but keeping costs down is simple through Allegro Medical.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your diabetes and other health supplies.
(1) – http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/local-offices/portland-oregon/assets/files/resources-for-tough-economic.pdf
According to the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society, over 1 million people in the US develop pressure ulcers each year.1 One of the most proven methods to prevent and treat pressure ulcers is through the use of a therapeutic support surface.
Therapeutic support surfaces can be split into to two main types:
1) Group I – Static mattresses
2) Group II – Dynamic mattresses
Group I Static Mattresses
Group I products are non-powered foam, or low-density mattresses that either replace an existing mattress or rest on top of an existing mattress. The most basic Group I mattresses are lightweight and consist of an inner support system made from one or more types of foam with an outer cover that protects the mattress from moisture, fluids and bacteria. Some Group I mattresses use air or gel, like the ROHO Prodigy Mattress Overlay, which is made of over 100 air cells that help distribute the patient’s weight, while others are made from the patented Tempur-Pedic® foam found in many traditional mattresses.
Group II Dynamic Mattresses
Group II products are powered and use sophisticated electronics and pumps to control the pressure and airflow to the mattress, typically comprised of multiple inflatable air bladders.
Within the Group II classification of dynamic mattresses, the mattresses provide three distinct types of therapy:
1) Alternating pressure therapy
2) Low air-loss therapy
3) Lateral rotation therapy
Alternating Pressure Therapy
Alternating pressure refers to the inflation and deflation of the mattress’s air cells in order to provide the patient pressure redistribution that helps in the treatment and prevention of Stage I to Stage IV pressure ulcers. The pump system of the mattress continuously operates through pre-programmed cycles that increase and decrease pressure.
Alternating pressure mattresses are typically the most economical Group II support surfaces. Some systems are designed to replace a normal mattress and fit on most home care beds, while others are overlaid on top of an existing mattress. These systems use a compressor that continually monitors air pressure in the mattress and maintains the appropriate level of pressure. Most units are 8” thick, use LED displays, operate in 10 minute programmable cycles, have adjustable pressure settings, offer low-pressure and power loss alarms, and offer maximum firm modes for patient transfer and emergency treatment.
Low Air-Loss Therapy
Many Group II therapeutic support surfaces use low air-loss mattresses and many health care professionals generally refer to therapy mattresses as “low air-loss” mattresses.
Low air loss systems incorporate a semi-permeable mattress that allows air to slowly escape the mattress surface. The benefit of low air-loss mattresses lies in their ability to promote a dry healing environment while keeping the skin cool. The escaping air aids in the evaporation of moisture on the skin.
Low air loss mattresses also offer the ability to alternate pressure throughout zones in the mattress system just like the more basic alternating pressure mattress but with the added benefit of a cooler and dryer sleep surface.
Lateral Rotation Therapy
Some of the most advanced therapeutic support surfaces use sophisticated programming and miniaturized pumps and solenoid valves that work in concert to effectively rotate a patient. Air cells inflate and deflate in a sequence which simulates the unconscious rolling, or shifting motion experienced by most people. This gentle turning and rotation helps ensure that a patient at risk of pressure ulcers will achieve the best possible pressure relief. Most high-end lateral rotation systems also feature low air-loss capability to wick away moisture.
Therapeutic mattresses, from simple Group I static foam mattresses to sophisticated Group II dynamic mattresses, are the most reliable way of preventing and treating pressure ulcers. Whether choosing foam mattress topper or a lateral rotation therapy mattress, therapeutic support surfaces are the caregiver’s go-to product to combat pressure ulcers.
Please always consult with your doctor to choose the therapeutic support surface or mattress that is best for you. With one of the broadest selections on the web for health and wellness products, you can always rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your personal care and special condition needs.
1) Gibbons, Shanks, Kleinhelter, Jones, Eliminating Facility-Acquired
Pressure Ulcers at Ascension Health, Sept. 2006 Volume 32 Number 9.
*** From: Patty Kunze ***
My new life began July 2nd, 2009 as a T3-4 paraplegic at 48 years of age. My name is Patty Kunze and I have been a Registered Nurse since 1983. I began my nursing career ironically in the Spinal Cord Injury Unit of the Veterans Administration Medical Center; little did I know that I would be drawing on that knowledge 26 years later.
It was the beginning of the July 4th weekend and my husband and I had just moved into our new home. In the past days we made trips back to the old house to collect some final items out of the shed. That day we decided to make one final run and grab a pizza on the way home and enjoy it on our new back porch. Right as planned, we collected the items, picked up the pizza, gassed up the car, and made our way back home. We decided to go back roads home to avoid the busy interstate from the holiday weekend traffic. Approximately five minutes from home, we approached an intersection, where I noticed a pickup truck was sitting at the stop sign. As we approached, the truck started pulling out of the street. I yelled at my husband who was driving, that the truck was not stopping. The pickup truck, being driven by a young teenager, T-boned into my side of our car causing our vehicle to flip five times before coming to a rest in the ditch.
To make a long story short, I broke my arm in three places, broke my right hand, dislocated my left knee, sprained my ankle, broke my vertebrae, and severed the spinal cord at T3-4 complete. My husband, who was driving, stayed alert through the ordeal and injured his shoulder and broke his elbow, I was unconscious when the vehicle came to a stop.
After six weeks in the hospital and eight weeks of rehab, I made it home to start my new life as it is now. I am still a wife, mother to two sons, and Registered Nurse. I continue to work on a Master’s degree in Nursing, I completed handicapped driver’s training, I quickly became the supervisor of our home again, and I have a very part-time job as a nurse. It has been a long road to recovery and by being a nurse, I am not sure if it was easier or more difficult. I have become much stronger thanks to my family and friends who assisted in my recovery.
Allegro Medical assisted in my recovery also…..shortly after my accident, while in the ICU, prior to the first surgery due to difficulty in maintaining the blood pressure, I developed a sacral decubitus ulcer. It worsened over the time I was hospitalized. The ulcer ended up as a Stage III sore requiring multiple visits to the plastic surgeon. The physician suggested performing a “flap” to speed up healing but due to my nursing experience, I felt healing the sore from the bottom up would be best. So my husband and I opted to heal the sore with twice daily ulcer dressings. Allegro Medical always had the necessary dressings to perform the task. It took 18 months to heal the ulcer but with my husband’s diligence and Allegro Medical supplies, it was restored to its previous state. I use Allegro Medical for all of my medical supplies.
So, now it has been almost four years since that life-changing-evening occurred but I thank God every day that I am still here for my family and I frequently forget that I am disabled. My husband assists in my care and we have worked out a daily routine now. Just because life is a roll coaster, doesn’t mean you stop living. I live every day to the fullest. My life is beautiful. I enjoy each and every day now, like it’s my last.
My saying is “It’s all good” and it is. So I can’t walk….there are “worser” things in life. I am blessed with a loving family and wonderful friends. What more could a girl want?
Thanks Patty for sharing your story with the Allegro Community! Your story about life and the struggles with a spinal cord injury and pressure sore is something many of our Allegro customers can relate to. The way that you have approached your new life, pursuit of your Masters Degree and managing your home is an inspiration. We are glad we could be here to help in our small way.
If you have a story, and would like to share it, email me at email@example.com
*** From: Fran F., Santa Barbara, CA ***
I use Allegro Medical regularly. I appreciate your great prices, wonderful inventory, and good customer service. I would be happy to give you a personal story.
I became aware of your site when looking for medical supplies about 4 years ago, after my then 53 year old husband Hal was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Since then, as Hal’s needs have progressed, we’ve come to depend on Allegro Medical more and more. Allegro carries so many different types of supplies – all at really good prices. In addition, we live in Santa Barbara, CA, a relatively small city, and choices here are limited. Plus, it is very difficult now for me to leave Hal, so shopping online is a great resource.
We are lucky to be able to have Hal living at home, and intend to keep him here as long as possible. He is very involved now, and is almost entirely paralyzed. I have had to stop working, and am his full time caregiver, with the help of our adult son. Hal gets his nutrition and water through a feeding tube, and we bath him in a combination commode/shower chair. He had a tracheostomy in 2011, and uses a ventilator. He sleeps in a hospital bed and spends his days in a wheelchair. But he is still a happy guy. Unlike his body, Hal’s mind is intact, and very active. He communicates and surfs the internet via a computer with an infra-red camera to track his eye movement.
I get pretty much all of our non-Medicare covered supplies through Allegro.. Gauze, barrier creme and other things to preserve skin integrity, special needs bowel and toileting supplies, oral hygiene supplies, liquid acetaminophen, support pillows, the list goes on and on. I really like the no-rinse shampoo – light scent, works great. Also the Dynarex non-woven sponges,various sizes – they are soft, absorbent, and very gentle on the skin.
At home with my mother (who was visiting), our son Jason, and our dog.
Hal and Fran
At the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens
Hal in bed. Our daughter, Erin, on the right, was visiting.
Thanks Fran & Hal for sharing your story with the Allegro Community! Your story about life and the struggles with ALS hits home with many Allegro customers. It’s great that you are able to care for Hal at home and we are glad we are here to help in our small way. I added links to the products that you have found helpful in treating Hal’s ALS condition so others might also benefit from your knowledge.
If you would like to share your story email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bed Sores – The Prevention Guide
The menacing threat of “bed sores” and their danger to a bedridden patients’ health is belied by its innocuous name. Medical professionals commonly refer to these dangerous, acquired wounds as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers or ischemic ulcers. Most at risk, are those in long-term care (nursing homes or hospitals), age 70+, who spend a significant of time in bed, lying down, hence the term – bedsore.1
The condition often results after capillary blood flow to certain areas of the body is restricted for long durations. This type of tissue damage only occurs when a patient is unable to change their body position due to a mobility, medical or neurological issue; capillary blood flow is interrupted and tissue damage eventually results.2 Under normal conditions, our bodies provide feedback to our brains that tell us we need to move or shift our position. We do, and normal blood flow returns to the small capillary vessels within our body tissue and skin.
The parts of the body most often impacted from bedsores include the heels, elbows and buttocks. The bony prominences of these skeletal protrusions direct considerably more body weight in these areas when lying down or in a seated position. When a person is unable to change their position or shift their weight, the result can be a dramatic and difficult-to-treat wound.
Armed with the right knowledge and products, potentially life-threatening pressure sores may be avoided all together.
How to Prevent Pressure Sores
First, always consult with a physician when a pressure sore is first noticed. Proper medical attention will ensure the best treatment alternatives. However, preventative measures can reduce the risk of dangerous pressure sores from occurring.
The concept is relatively simple. We want to reduce the direct pressure on any area of the body that could be in prolonged contact with another surface. To understand this concept, take your thumb and press it into your knee. The relatively small area of the tip of your thumb exerts a relatively large amount of pressure in a fairly small area. That pressure, which is focused around the area of the thumb, is high. If left for too long, the area of pressure will reduce blood circulation, eventually damaging the skin and turning into an open wound. Now, instead of using your thumb, place the palm of your hand over your knee and apply a little pressure. This time, the larger surface area of your hand distributes the force over a larger surface area. That larger surface area does not create the same pressure or damage in the way your thumb did. Key to preventing pressure sores is the distribution of force from high pressure areas on the body and ensuring uninterrupted blood flow through these areas.
Preventing Pressure Sores for the Bed-Bound
As the name suggests, bed sores afflict those unable to move in bed. A patient’s heels and elbows and buttocks are at risk. Fortunately, a number of products are available to help prevent pressure sores for the bed-bound.
Alternating Pressure Mattress
The best product for bed sore prevention is an alternating pressure pad or low air loss mattress. These devices use a pump and inflatable mattress overlay which systematically increases and decreases pressure though out the pad. These changes in pressure help relieve areas of high pressure contact between the body and the bed. While these systems can cost thousands of dollars, versions are available for as little as $49.
Good – $49
- Supports up to 250 pounds
- Easy to setup
- 1 ½” support thickness
Better – $682
- Supports up to 350 pounds
- 8” of pressure support
- Wide range of pressure variation
Best – $1,083
- Supports up to 450 pounds
- 8” of pressure support
- Performance pump produces constant airflow
Heel & Elbow – Simple Alternatives
Other, less sophisticated products are available to help protect the skin from breakdown due to pressure. These products include heel and elbow protective pads that are worn around the patient’s heel or elbow, held in place with some kind of strapping or elastic. Made from sheepskin, synthetic material or even “ROHO dry flotation” (the same pressure relieving air bubble product used in ROHO wheelchair cushions),
- Made from ROHO dry flotation
- Lightweight and easy-to-clean
- Cell pressure is adjustable
- Corefill polyester fiber
- Protects and warms the foot
- Machine washable
- Natural leather and wool
- Absorbs more moisture
- Machine washable
The danger of bed sores is avoidable. Under most conditions, a low air loss or alternating pressure mattress is the ideal approach in preventing the development of bed sores. At minimum, simple and inexpensive products like heel and elbow protective cushions are a great first step.
AllegroMedical.com has a variety of solutions to help you prevent pressure sores and to keep your patient or loved one comfortable.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online source of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your health supplies.
1) Fogerty M, Guy J, Barbul A, et al. African Americans show increased risk for pressure ulcers: A retrospective analysis of acute care hospitals in America. Wound Repair Regen. Aug 11 2009;[Medline].
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