Archive for November 15th, 2011
Posted on November 15, 2011 - by Nurse Virginia
TAKE CARE OF THE CAREGIVER AS WELL AS THE ELDER THE WAY THE NURSING HOME DOES – GET A ELECTRIC BED AND GREAT MATTRESS
A great bed will be a fully electric bed. A bed that goes very low to the floor as well as elevates to waist height for the comfort of the caregiver. When the bed can go low, close to the floor, the elder is less at risk for falls out of bed and less at risk for injury. A bed that can be positioned very low is looked at as the “ultimate in safety” for an elder.
The ability for the bed to rise to waist height reduces the amount of stooping the caregiver will be doing, over the bed during times of direct care. Many times back injuries are caused by stooping for long periods of time. And it is very difficult to care for an adult while you are stooping. It is so much better to be able to raise the area of care giving to a level that is comfortable.
The ability to raise and lower the head and foot increases the elder’s ability to get into a comfortable position. Sometimes even a slight change in these areas may reduce pressure on the elder’s bony places that are prone to bed sores/skin ulcers.
The mattress is also a significant line of defense against skin breakdown and bed sores. When I have had to go to look at nursing facilities for family members, one of the first things I do is pull back the covers on the beds to take a look at their mattresses.
Choose a mattress with an extra soft heel zone to prevent skin breakdown on heels, as well as a mattress for pressure relief, comfort, durability and is easy to clean. Make sure it has a firm edge around the mattress to prevent the elder from sliding off the bed when sitting on the edge during dressing and undressing.
If you cannot invest in a new bed and mattress an inexpensive alternative will be a “mattress overlay.” That is usually a combination of one or more layers of foam and a layer of a water-like, non-toxic gel. The gel layer goes closest to the elder’s body.
Buying a bed is really an area where you can realize the value of spending money proactively. The right bed and right mattress will prevent against real pain, on the part of the caregiver by sparing their back from injury. And the elder who has increased comfort, a reduced risk of falls as well as skin breakdown.
Virginia Garberding R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance