Bed sores are a surprisingly common issue. It’s difficult to nail down how big an issue they are because they tend to be systematically under-reported. We suspect that somewhere between 15 and 25% of older adults in long term care homes have one. In particular, individuals who spend a lot of time in bed are at risk of developing pressure injuries when their skin and the underlying tissues stay compressed between a bony prominence and the mattress preventing blood flow. This lack of blood flow eventually leads to tissue damage that becomes a bed sore.
These injuries not only result in pain and suffering for patients but also complicate treatment, extend hospital stays, increase the risk of infection, and increase stress for caregivers.
Repositioning individuals regularly (every two hours) allows for tissues to return to their natural shape allowing blood to deliver oxygen to the area. This can be hard for caregivers to keep up – particularly through the night.