“Aging in place” is becoming a popular alternative to elderly people having to relocate to a nursing home, especially if they are confined to their beds. Carers and family can help the patient manage their needs in their own setting, where they are familiar with their surroundings and comfortable in their home environments.
Being bedridden is hard enough without having to spend all that time in a hospital. Having an opportunity to heal at home, in contrast, is much more comfortable and pleasant for most bedridden patients.
Bed-bound or bedridden patients require certain medical supplies for maximum comfort, cleanliness, and dignity. If you are a primary carer for a bedridden patient, be braced for a long haul as the care and attention you are going to give will be long and tedious.
The primary carer must be healthy and fit and must have passion to take care a bedridden relative who may need care around the clock. They will need assistance with everyday activities.
At this point, you are only as happy, contented, and comfortable to the extent they are. The patient will be difficult, might have attitude and can get the carer frustrated and so you may feel they do not understand all what you do for them.
Don’t worry as this is so very normal and you are not alone under the circumstances. It does get better. Before caring for the bedridden patient, you need to get prepared with the facilities that is needed for the patient for comfort and safety.
So how do we take care of your loved one and what measures are there to make it easier for both the patient and the carer. Here are some pointers.
Ensure the Room of the Patient is Conducive
The environment we are in has a lot to do with how we feel. Take some time to ensure.
- The room of your loved one has good lighting
- The path to the bathroom clean (with no clutter)
- The things they consistently use, such as book, diary, phone, and alarm are within reach
- You air the room for fresh air to circulate
- Their room is free from noise, especially when they are resting for quality sleep
Get an Adjustable Bed
An adjustable bed is extremely beneficial for people who struggle with mobility, especially for bedridden patients who suffer from pain, are recovering from an injury or operation, or have a chronic health condition. Here are some of the benefits associated with an adjustable bed.
The patient can enjoy zero gravity position as the weight is perfectly distributed, the spine is in a neutral position, and there is no pressure on the joints and muscles. The zero-gravity position can help with snoring, insomnia, sleep apnoea, digestion, heartburn, acid reflux, sore muscles, restless legs, sciatica, and hip, knee, ankle, neck, and back pain.
What’s more it’s easier to get in and out of an adjustable bed to enhance independence, allowing people to remain in their own homes and enjoy a quality of life in comfortable surroundings. The comfort at the touch of the button is another great benefit.
Arrange for an Air Mattress to prevent Bedsores
For most of us, our bed is a place of rest and reprieve at the end of each day. It’s the spot where we can let go of the stress of our to-do list or the big project that’s due next week and drift off into a sweet (or at least restful) slumber.
If you sit or sleep in one position, you stand the risk of getting bed or pressure sores. We must make sure the patient is positioned differently every few hours. In the worst-case scenario, these sores can become infected and result in complications and a shortened life.
If a patient suffers from bed sores, a low air loss mattress can provide an essential form of treatment proven to keep patients at home in their beds and away from the hospital.
How do air mattresses help, they help avoid skin breakdown by promoting blood flow and stimulating circulation in the body?
Air mattresses alternate the body's positioning regularly so that the pressure doesn't build up too much on parts of the body that are prone to pressure sores such as the buttocks, elbows, back, and hips.
Where necessary a Bed Rail can help
A bed rail can be easily installed on either side of the bed and provides the user with additional security when getting in or out of bed. The height can be adjusted, and this can support up to 300 pounds only if the patient is not entirely bedridden. If there is partial mobility this bed rail would be helpful especially for the carer.
A Must - a Bedside Commode
Utilizing a bedside commode offers a safe and easy toileting alternative for patients and caregivers of all kinds. People who are bedridden, live with mobility limitations, or are recovering from an injury, disease, or surgery can benefit from using a toilet that is close to their bed.
It is also a great solution for individuals who are elderly or are otherwise at a high risk for falls, as well as for users recovering from strokes, or living with incontinence.
They reduce a user’s need to traverse the slippery environment of a bathroom unassisted and keep them from having to navigate too far away from their bed and risking an accident.
So, what is a bedside commode? It is a stand-alone, non-flushing commode that can be conveniently placed next to a bed or somewhere within a room where it’s needed.
The bedside commode consists of a lightweight, easily portable yet sturdy frame that includes a toilet seat, chair-like arms, and a removable waste bucket attached underneath the toilet seat.
A Must - a Tilt and Recline Wheelchair
For patients who are bedridden, a reclining or tilt-in-space wheelchair is recommended as it allows them to stretch and change body position to support pressure care and comfort in the same way that anyone else becomes uncomfortable sitting in the same position for long periods.
This wheelchair will transform the user from a sitting position to an almost lying down position. The change of position reduces the pressure on the buttocks and allows the user to take a break from sitting in the same position.
The tilt-in-space wheelchair on the other hand does not alter the angle of the user’s body. Instead of a reclining action, the whole chair tilts back with the user remaining in the sitting up position.
This action relieves pressure on the hips and transfers it to a larger surface area (the back). When the user is returned to an upright position, they do not need to be readjusted as they are already in the correct sitting position.
This helps to reduce pressure sores and back pain. So, choosing the right type of wheelchair for bedridden patients is based entirely on the needs of the patient.
A Must - General Care
If the patient is bedridden, be conscious of their hygiene and grooming. Just simple activities of
Bathing – The level of assistance depends on the stage of the patient. Some people can bath with little assistance, while others cannot do this anymore. In the last case, a bed bath every day is acceptable and equally refreshing.
Clothing – Why change their clothes, and they don’t get dirty anyway? Changing their beddings and clothing every day is critical as it helps avoid germs. Germs can lead to a lot of harm to an individual with a low income.
Fingernails and Toenails – The healing process can be a little itchy, which may lead to scratches that can be hurtful. Trimming the nails of the patient can, therefore, save them unnecessary pain.
Combing or Shaving – A good haircut is vital to keep away parasites such as bedbugs and lice that are attracted by unkempt hair. If the patient loved their hair long, commit to combing their hair as they loved it.
Looking good makes people feel better about themselves. These grooming activities will, therefore, not only help them feel healthy but good too.
- Feed the patient a balanced diet, paying attention to doctor's orders for any dietary restrictions
- Make sure the patient has plenty of fluids throughout the day and healthy snacks when they are hungry, unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.
Taking care of a loved one who is bedridden is a lonely path. Seeking for help is natural and feel free to get the help needed where necessary.