As physical conditions decline, mobility declines. If your parent is essentially bedbound their risk of complications goes up. Frequent turning, positioning and good skin care will prevent many of these problems. Complications include pneumonia, constipation, bladder infections, fractures and bedsores.
In addition to basic skin care, positioning helps prevent bedsores.
Use pillows to support and position them for comfort, turning and changing their position at least every two hours.
Body pillows or regular pillows can be used to support the arms and legs when laying the side with a pillow at the back to prevent turning over onto their back.
When positioning someone on their side, they should actually be leaning back against a pillow so that their body is angled about about a 30 degree incline. This distributes the weight over a larger area, causing less pressure over boney areas. Scroll down to Figure 2 for an example. At the 2.30 min. mark is a good example: Positioning Video
Make sure you pull their shoulder out from under them.
Wedge shaped pillows raise the head, a small rolled pillow can be placed under the knees.
Rolled wash cloths can be placed in the hands if needed to prevent the hands from becoming contractured.
C-shaped pillows help to position the neck.
Commercially made Positioning Devices are available for purchase and may be a better choice in some instances.
If you are caring for someone who is unable to move and needs to be repositioned, ask a health care provider such as a nurse, physical therapist or certified nursing assistant to show you how to effectively position the person.
As is obvious, caring for someone who is bedridden is physically demanding work. It is all too common for caregivers to hurt their backs and then the frantic search for someone to help out ensues. There are some simple steps you can do to decrease your risk of back injury.
First of all, get help. Do not tug and pull on your parent by yourself unless they can help, such as grabbing a side rail and pulling.
Use a draw sheet under the patient to aid in turning and positioning. A draw sheet is simply a sheet that has been folded and placed under the buttocks, allowing a person on either side of the bed to grasp the sheet and lift it to move the patient. Saves tugging on your parent’s arm and risking a skin tear.
There are lifts to move a person between a bed and a chair, use a hospital bed and adjust to a comfortable height.
A bedside table can prove to also be a big help.
Medicare will often assist in paying for medical equipment, provided certain guide lines are met.
Because these guidelines change, call a local medical equipment supplier and they will be very happy to answer your questions and help you set up delivery.
Check out second-hand shops and yard sales when looking for used equipment. You can also contact your local home care agency and hospice. People will often donate used equipment to them, or tell them they have some they want to get rid of. Your local Senior Citizen’s Center might also have used equipment. And don’t forget the local want ad’s, ebay and craig’s list.