A decubitus is a chronic wound from lying in one position, i.e. long-term pressure, which results in damage to the skin and the tissue underneath.
The problem has been known since before the New Era. Namely, doctors in Ancient Rome noticed the appearance of specific wounds that appeared after lying for a long time on a bed that was used for rest. It is precisely from this bearing that they got their name. That is, from the Latin words “decumbre” which means “to lie down” and “cubitum” as that bed was called.
They also knew about decubitus wounds in ancient Egypt, which is confirmed by traces on mummies. However, decubitis was first recorded in medical literature only in the 19th century.
What are the causes of pressure ulcers?
Although in literal translation it means “wound from lying down”, decubitus can also be a consequence of sitting in a wheelchair for a long time. It occurs on the parts of the body that are most exposed to pressure, and under the skin the bone is covered by a thin layer of muscle tissue. Usually the critical zones are parts of the spine, back, elbows, hips, gluteus and heels. Although they can also form in the urinary system due to the catheter, as well as in the oral cavity due to the pressure of a broken tooth or an inadequate dental prosthesis.
The main reason for the appearance of these wounds is pressure, but there are also a number of others. Constant moisture of the skin creates favorable conditions. Which is why the care of elderly people who are immobile puts the greatest emphasis on maintaining personal hygiene. It includes, first of all, regular changes of bedding, pajamas and diapers.
The comfort of the bed is also of great importance, and immobile patients are advised to lie on anti-decubitus mattresses. As they are specially designed to prevent the formation of wounds, the use of these mattresses is an excellent preventive measure.
Decubitus can also be caused by internal factors. They are linked to poor nutrition that has led to malnutrition or obesity. Then, anemia, diabetes, and even certain drugs are classified as potential causes.
Decubitus develops gradually
At the place of pressure, first of all, there is noticeable redness that does not disappear when pressed. It is accompanied by pain, itching and heat, because the temperature in that area of the skin is higher.
Soon, along with redness, edema develops, and blisters appear on the skin, and partly also on the subcutaneous tissue. They spread in a circle and form blisters, which burst so that the skin takes on a purplish blue color.
Over time, tissue necrosis occurs, causing the skin to become dry and increasingly black, and the wounds grow into craters. This phase is also characterized by the appearance of infection.
In the last stage, deep ulcerations occur. The muscle tissue is completely destroyed, so parts of the bone are visible.
Care of decubitus wounds
With proper health care, decubitus ulcers can be cured. The key role is played by the home care medical staff.
Therapy includes cleaning, treatment with creams prescribed by the doctor and dressing the wounds with special dressings that speed up the healing process.
Also, personal care of elderly people with this problem includes regular changes in body position, regular meals made from healthy foods rich in nutrients, as well as adequate maintenance of personal hygiene every day.
The center for the care of the elderly and sick, MinuteNurse Home health & care, has professional nurses, as well as trained caregivers who will help you in the treatment of decubitus wounds. The advantages of the personal home care that we offer are also reflected in the highest measures to prevent the occurrence of decubitus in immobile clients.