Bedsores or pressure ulcers are areas of skin breakdown that occur due to prolonged pressure applied over bony areas such as the tailbone, hips, ankles and heels as a result of being confined to a bed or wheelchair for a long time. Infection can develop in these areas and spread to the underlying tissues, and occasionally may become cancerous. Bedsores commonly occur in bedridden patients, who cannot get out of bed and have a limited ability to change their position.
Prevention and wound care for bed sores is one of the services offered by home health care. It usually involves relieving pressure off the area by repositioning the patient, cleaning and removing any infected or damaged tissue, dressing, administering antibiotics and maintaining a healthy diet.
Surgical treatment may be indicated if the above measures fail, or if there is deep or extensive tissue injury. The wound may be closed by suturing its edges together or using a flap of surrounding skin or muscle tissue to cover the wound. Surgery is performed to improve the appearance and hygiene of the sores, treat infections, reduce fluid loss, and prevent complications such as gangrene and cancer.