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Being bedridden can be very difficult for many patients to try and adjust to and it can also cause other health problems as well. It is important for family caregivers to know what to expect so that they can manage or avoid the health risks that bedridden patients are prone to.
The most common health risk for bedridden patients is pressure ulcers. People with full mobility rotate their body periodically while sleeping which keeps the blood flowing normally and prevents pressure ulcers, but those with limited mobility are usually unable to rotate their body on their own. Sitting or lying in the same position for long periods of time may cause pressure ulcers because the part of the body that has pressure on it has a decreased blood supply available. Over time the decreased blood supply causes the flesh in these areas to die and form sores that can become very deep if not properly cared for. Pressure ulcers can easily become infected and cause further complications so it is important for family caregivers to rotate their loved ones periodically to prevent pressure ulcers from forming.
Increased pressure on the body from immobility can also lead to pulmonary congestion, pneumonia and back pain. As patients remain immobile pulmonary secretions build up in the chest and cause other complications. Pneumonia can be a very serious illness, especially in the elderly because of their weakened immune system so it is important for family caregivers to watch for signs and symptoms that may indicated that their loved ones may have pneumonia and help prevent their loved ones from getting pneumonia. Remaining in one position for a long period of time also puts extra pressure on the spinal column which causes back pain that can be very uncomfortable for patients. Regularly rotating patients is the best way to prevent pulmonary congestion and spinal column pressure so family caregivers should make sure that they are rotating their loved one on a regular basis to avoid pressure ulcers, pneumonia and back pain.
Depression is also a very common health risk for those that are bedridden because they are unable to care for themselves and maintain the social life that they used to have. Many seniors begin to feel hopeless when they become bedridden but this can be prevented with proper care. Family caregivers should make sure that they are caring for their loved one’s social and emotional needs as well as their physical needs. Many family caregivers focus only on the physical needs of their loved ones and forget that they have emotional and social needs as well. Family caregivers can help their loved ones by providing them with regular social activities and arranging times for friends and other family members to come over so that they will not feel lonely and forgotten. Family caregivers can also remind their loved ones that being bedridden does not necessarily mean that they have to give up everything they used to enjoy.
Sleep problems often arise from being bedridden and unable to move. Sleep problems are very common because patients are unable to move themselves if they are uncomfortable so they are forced to lie in bed in an uncomfortable position that keeps them awake.
Even a loss of appetite may occur since the patient loses interest in many aspects of life due to the lack of stimulation. Family caregivers can help prevent this by providing their loved ones with a variety of stimulation such as books, music and television. It might seem easy to just leave the television on all day but after a while patients will get bored and begin to suffer from loss of appetite and depression. Family caregivers should also make sure that they provide variety when it comes to food. Being unable to prepare meals or feed themselves does not mean that seniors want to eat the same food all the time so family caregivers should keep this in mind and try to provide as much variety as they can for their loved ones.
When the caregivers know what to expect when caring for a bedridden patient then they will know how to prevent common health risks that they are prone to.