Treating Decubitis Ulcers

Treating Decubitis Ulcers

By Kevin Cleary

Decubitis ulcers or pressure sores/bedsores can be a serious problem for patients that are immobile. They are caused by pressure on soft tissue over bony areas of the body. Areas such as the coccyx, heels, hips, and other joints are susceptible to this type of pressure wound. These ulcers can lead to complications such as autonomic dysreflexia, infection, and can be life-threatening. The best way to cure them is to actually prevent them. For example, an air mattress for bed is great for sleeping or patients in a wheelchair can use an air filled pad (such as a Roho pad). But even with the most diligent care, an ulcer can develop. Once these wounds develop, it is important for them to heal as soon as possible to avoid infection and other complications. There are numerous types of dressings that can help with this.

Hydrocolloid Dressings

Hydrocolloid dressings use a gel type agent to promote healing. It’s been proven that a moist wound heals faster than a dry wound. In the presence of wound exudates, these hydrocolloid dressings absorb the liquid and form a gel. These dressings can be impermeable to water vapor, but as the gelling process takes place the dressing becomes progressively more permeable. One of the benefits of this type of dressings is that they can adhere to moist areas as well as dry wounds. Hydrocolloid dressings are easy to use, require changing every 3-5 days, and don’t cause trauma to the wound. Some types of hydrocolloid dressings are Tegaderm, Duoderm, and Granuflex among others.

Types of Arthritis

Foam Dressings

Foam dressings are highly absorbent dressings made predominately from hydrophilic polyurethane foam. These dressings can have various absorption rates, varying by brand. Some foam dressings have a center piece of foam surrounded by adhesive so that the dressing can remain in place without slipping. With the varying rates of absorption, a more absorbent dressing can remain in place longer. This can reduce the rate at which a caregiver needs to replace the dressing. This type of dressing is good for heavily exudating wounds, especially during the inflammatory period, when drainage is at its peak. The benefit of this type of dressing is they are comfortable and conformable.

Alginate Dressings

Alginate dressings are highly absorbent dressings made from seaweed. These dressings maintain a moist environment to promote healing. Alginate can be rinsed away with a saline solution so removal does not interfere with the healing process. This, in turn, makes dressing changes virtually painless. This type of dressing would be a good choice for ulcers that are exuding a lot of liquid. Some alginate dressings on the market are Aquacel, Maxorb, and Kaltostat.

HydroFiber Dressings

Hydrofiber dressings are a relatively new concept in the field of wound dressing. Since they can be worn for several days at a time, they can be a very cost-effective option. They work by gelling upon contact with moisture, locking in moisture that is absorbed by the dressing. They maintain a healthy moisture balance so that a wound is not too wet or too dry. This type of dressing provides a passive 7method of wound control that fills spaces where bacteria can thrive. With the addition of a silver cream, an antimicrobial environment can be established for infected wounds. The main ingredient in this type of dressing is sodium carboxymethylcellulose. These dressings come in a sterile, soft nonwoven pad or as a ribbon dressing for convenience.

Quick Links