Treat bed sores properly — Learn everything about Duoderm!

What are bedsores?

Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, bedsores are injuries that affect the skin as well as the layers underneath. Bedsores are due to prolonged pressure being applied to the skin, and can often arise quickly and without warning. In many cases, a simple change of position may be able to eliminate the problem. However, this may not always be the case.

For the most part, bedsores form on areas of the skin that cover bony parts of the body, including the ankles, hips, heels, and the tailbone, but they can also occur in numerous other areas as well. Where bedsores develop and how severe they are largely depends on the position of the individual, the amount of pressure being applied, and the length of time the position has been maintained.

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Who is most at risk for bedsores?

Since the occurrence of bedsores requires prolonged pressure to a particular area of the skin, they are most common for those who remain in bed or on bedrest for an extended period of time. Typically, those with certain medical conditions that limit their ability to move or change positions are the most likely to be affected. However, bedsores can also occur when individuals spend the majority of their time in bed or even in a chair.

Unfortunately, bedsores can occur quite quickly. While there are several treatments and wound care treatment options available to address bedsores once they occur, it's always best to try and prevent them from occurring in the first place. If bedrest is required or if motion is limited, try to change positions as much as possible and pay close attention to the skin and take note of any changes to its coloring or texture.


What are some of the signs and symptoms of bed sores?

As mentioned, bedsores can arise quite quickly. However, in most cases, there are some warning signs that you can keep an eye out for. Doing so may be able to help you reduce the severity of the bedsores or prevent them from occurring completely. Some of the most common symptoms of pressure ulcers include:

  • Changes to the color or texture of the skin
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Pus-like draining of the skin
  • Parts of the skin that feel either colder or warmer than the rest
  • Skin that is tender to the touch

There are several stages of bedsores, each of which is defined based upon the severity, depth, and additional characteristics of the wound. The extent of damage and injury can vary greatly, ranging from slightly red skin to deep injury that affects the skin as well as the muscle and even bone underneath.


What are the most common locations for bedsores?

Bedsores can technically occur on virtually any area of the skin. However, there are some areas of the body that are simply more prone to bedsores due to the proximity of the skin to bone. Where a bedsore occurs depends somewhat on the position in which the person is positioned.

For those who are in wheelchairs, bedsores typically occur on the following areas:

  • Buttocks and tailbone
  • Spine and shoulder blades
  • Back of the legs and arms

For individuals who are confined to their bed, the most common areas for bedsores include:

  • Sides and back of the head
  • Shoulder blades
  • Lower back
  • Hips and tailbone
  • Heels and ankles
  • Behind the knees

No matter where the bedsores might occur, it's important to seek out care from a doctor and to acquire the proper wound care treatment. With the proper wound dressing, bedsores can be properly cared for and infection prevented.


What are the types of bedsores?

Bedsores are categorized based on severity. There are four primary types of bedsores, and these are:

  • Stage 1: The beginning stage of a bedsore. The skin is still intact, but a red mark has appeared on the skin that is either cool or warm when touched. It may be painful at this stage, but it won't necessarily be so.
  • Stage 2: The bedsore is now an open wound. The outer layer of the skin has been destroyed or has rubbed away. The dermis may also be showing signs of damage. The area is typically red or pink.
  • Stage 3: The pressure ulcer is now quite deep. The loss of skin is very serious and the fat may even be showing. The sore is deep and the skin inside will be yellow or dead.
  • Stage 4: The worst form of bedsore. Tissue loss is common and muscle and tendon damage is also possible. It's also common for tendons, muscle, and even bone to be showing through the bedsore. Dead tissue can even appear at the bottom and on the edges of the wound.

Bedsores quickly progress in severity if not treated, which is why it is so important to address bedsores and acquire the appropriate wound dressing. If avoided, the end result could be bedsores that have progressed to the point of being unmanageable by even the most skilled doctor and professional caretaker.


What is DuoDERM?

DuoDERM is a brand of hydrocolloid bandages that was created by ConvaTec, a leader in the wound dressing industry. ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing is used to treat bedsores. Hydrocolloid bandages possess gel-like characteristics that are used to absorb seepage from the injury or wound and protect the wound from bacteria that may cause infection. Hydrocolloid bandages assist in allowing the wound to autolytically debride, which refers to the body using enzymes to naturally break down the dead tissue. This allows for natural, self-healing that doesn't require the use of surgical procedures.


Why is DuoDERM used to treat bed sores?

DuoDERM dressing bandages successfully block oxygen, bacteria, and water vapor from permeating the bandage. DuoDERM has become incredibly popular due to it being a wound dressing that doesn't stick to the wound. DuoDERM is also a wound care treatment that can be easily removed without injuring the skin underneath.

DuoDERM wound dressing bandages are ideal for those wounds that are experiencing mild to moderate seepage. A DuoDERM dressing can be used on all types of bedsores, including stage 1, 2, 3, and 4.

A DuoDERM dressing can be used on a wound for several days. However, the exact time period during which a DuoDERM dressing will be effective will depend largely on the moisture that is present within the wound. In most cases, a DuoDERM dressing can remain on a wound for between three and seven days. One of the benefits of choosing DuoDERM is that it is ideal for wounds that are wet and will remain in place even in a moist environment.

Since a DuoDERM patch is able to create a moisture barrier, it's important to always make sure that the bedsores are not infected, as a DuoDERM dressing would only make the problem worse. As long as infection is not present, a DuoDERM patch will normally cause a wound to begin smelling strongly after a couple of days without any cause for concern. Again, due to the containment of healthy moisture within the DuoDERM patch, the development of a smell can be expected.


What special properties does the ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing possess?

The ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing is available in a number of shapes and is specifically designed to be used in hard-to-reach and difficult places. The ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing is different from other bedsore hydrocolloid bandages in that it offers a visual change indicator that allows for you to be able to determine when your or a loved one's bandage requires changing. The ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing takes the guesswork out of bandage changes, and allows you to know when exactly the bandage should be changed to maximize healing.


How do you apply a DuoDERM dressing?

One of the big advantages of the DuoDERM patch is that it is easy to apply and easy to remove. The clear backing of the DuoDERM dressing allows for ease of placement as well as monitoring of the wound during the healing process. Not only this but the tapered edge of the DuoDERM patch is able to contour to just about any difficult area of the body.

When applying the wound dressing, you'll want to:

  • Make sure your hands have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Clean the wound with a saline solution.
  • Remove the dressing from the sleeve.
  • Peel back the release paper as well as the margin tabs.
  • Apply the wound care treatment.
  • Ensure good contact with the skin on all sides. You can make sure this is done properly by taking care to smooth any folds.

When in doubt, don't hesitate to look at the packaging for your wound care treatment to ensure that you are using the optimal method of applying and securing your hydrocolloid bandages.


How often should you change a ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing?

These bandages can typically remain in place for between three to seven days. Make sure to pay close attention for any signs of infection as this would necessitate immediate removal of the bandage and subsequent treatment.


How do you remove the ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing after use?

It's imperative to exercise caution when removing the ConvaTec DuoDERM Signal dressing so as not to irritate the skin or cause additional damage to the wound. To remove,:

  • Carefully peel the edges of the bandage.
  • Continue to peel, taking care to pull in the direction of hair growth.

 

Sources

Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Effective Management of Pressure Ulcers

Predictive Factors for Pressure Ulcers

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What questions do you have about Duoderm dressing? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help!

-Marc Kaplan

CEO, Save Rite Medical

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Created with a vision of helping customers in anyway possible, Save Rite Medical CEO, Marc Kaplan, created the company and has grown it to become the leading provider on online medical supplies. Through valuable products to educational information, Save Rite Medical is your number 1 resource for medical supplies.