After learning about what pressure sores are and who is most prone to getting pressure sores, we are now going to learn about how to prevent pressure sores for elderly wheelchair users. First, we will teach you three methods of how to get the elderly into the correct seating posture. In the next blog we will show you what accessories can help prevent pressure sores.
How to reposition elderly wheelchair users
- Shift the center of gravity
- Use a pelvic belt
- Use gravity to assist
The first step to preventing the elderly from getting pressure sores is to ensure that they are in the correct seating position. The first method you can use to help reposition the wheelchair user is to gently rock them towards the backrest. If the elderly wheelchair user is unable to reposition themselves then the caregiver can gently lean the user to one side and shift them back gradually (see GIF below).
This first method for shifting the wheelchair user is to slowly rock them to the side and towards the backrest. Source: Karma Taiwan
For the second method, you will need to remove the leg rests from the wheelchair. If the user is unable to shift back, the knees can be strapped together to anchor the caregiver so they can push the user towards the backrest. This method causes less strain on the caregiver, especially if they are elderly. Once the wheelchair user is in the correct position, use a pelvic belt to prevent them from sliding forward.
If the user is unable to shift themselves, the caregiver can push them towards the backrest. Source: Karma Taiwan
The final and maybe easiest method is to use a recline and tilt-in-space positioning wheelchair. When the user is tilted and reclined back, they will shift backward with the help of gravity. To adjust the user into the correct position, go under their arms to gently pull them upward, do not grab their arms and pull up. Using a pelvic belt will help to secure the user in the correct position when the wheelchair is returned to the upright position.
Repositioning the elderly doesn’t have to be painful
Repositioning an elderly wheelchair user doesn’t have to be painful, for the user or caregiver. The main takeaway method to prevent pressure sores for wheelchair users is:
- Shift the user’s center of gravity
- Use a pelvic belt to prevent sliding
- Use gravity to your advantage
In the next blog, we will talk about what accessories the user might want to use to further prevent pressure sores.