April 24, 2018
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Special care needed to prevent, heal pressure sores

By Roxanne Moore Saucier, BDN Columnist

BANGOR, Maine — Can you get a bed sore if you’re not bedridden? Even if you’re an active guy who uses a wheelchair? Yes, and yes.

In the eight years since my husband became a paraplegic in a fall from a house ladder, we have checked his skin on a daily basis — his backside, shall we say — for bruises, discoloration, skin breaks, anything even slightly abnormal.

While we were preoccupied with the part of the body where muscles and fat diminish on a person who can no longer walk, trouble took root somewhere else — on the bony side of his knee, which was rubbing against the leg of his wheelchair.

Pretty soon the skin was broken, with a sore place that seemed to be healing up. The side of his leg scabbed over in an impressive way, but it wasn’t good news. A pressure sore scabs over and starts to heal from the outside in, meaning infection may develop and persist deep inside. A pressure sore can lead to sepsis or even death.

A visit to the doctor got my husband referred to the St. Joseph Hospital Wound Care Center, where he goes weekly to have his wound — which started out looking like a crater but is growing smaller — cleaned out and treated.

Those who are at risk for pressure sores, or who have a family member at risk, are welcome to hear Dr. Marian Benner, medical director of the Wound Care Center, speak at the Physical Disabilities Support Group at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 2, at Winterberry Heights, 932 Ohio St.

Benner is a member of the American Professional Wound Care Association and a diplomat with the American Board of Internal Medicine. She will discuss both treatment for and prevention of wounds. Those most susceptible to chronic wounds include people with diabetes or spinal cord injury.

A potluck supper will begin at 5 p.m. For information, call 945-6878 or 942-6720.

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