Nutrition and Healing Pressure Sore

The Impact of Nutrition/Hydration on Healing Pressure Sores

What are Pressure Sore?

Pressure sores result from prolonged pressure on the muscle and bone underneath the skin. Pressure sores are currently used as an indicator of the quality of care and are part of the MDS that long-term care facilities must report. Internally long-term care facilities utilize Pressure sores as a quality control indicator and have developed policies for pressure sore prevention, assessment, and treatment as part of their quality improvement process. Stage 3 and 4 sores always result from poor care and represent by itself evidence of neglect.

How Does Nutrition Affect Pressure Sores?

Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of pressure sores, also known as nursing home bed sores.  Often people who develop pressure sores suffer from poor nutrition or malnutrition. Nutrition and wound nutrition directly impact the wound healing process or managing the wound. Vitamin C and zinc sulphate assist with wound healing.

There are important laboratory values to assist you or your family in determining whether one’s nutrition level is adequate to promote healing pressure sores.  Albumin is a measure of protein available for healing; a normal level is greater than 3.5 g/dL. A level of 2.5 or below is considered severe malnutrition, or protein malnutrition, which directly limits the body’s ability to heal a pressure sore.

Dehydration in the Elderly

Dehydration also affects wound healing by reducing the blood volume available to transport oxygen and nutrients to healing tissues. The state of hydration affects weight and albumin levels. If you or your loved one is losing weight in a nursing home, it is probably because the nursing home is not providing its resident with adequate fluids. Dehydration unfortunately is an all too common problem faced by nursing home patients.

The nutritional status of nursing home residents should be monitored at a minimum of every three months for those at low nutritional risk and monthly for those identified to be at high risk, or malnourished.

Often nursing home pressure sores are caused by the patient not receiving the needed nutritional supplements necessary to prevent and heal pressure sores.  Often reimbursement rates by Medicare or Medi-Cal do not cover the cost of care. Liquid oral supplements or fortified foods are not reimbursable under state and federal regulations but fall under the daily rate of care, and thus, the nursing home does not provide dietary supplements, choosing profit over patient care.

What nutrition helps pressure wounds? – Healing Pressure Sores

Nutrition plays a pivotal role in healing pressure sores or ulcers, particularly in the elderly who are often more susceptible to malnutrition. Implementing a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet can support the body’s healing process.

Here are some key nutritional elements to consider:

  1. Protein: Protein is crucial for tissue repair and growth. It’s the building block of skin and muscle. Foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts are rich in protein.
  2. Vitamin C: This antioxidant helps in collagen production, a protein needed to create new skin during wound healing. Include citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli in the diet.
  3. Vitamin A: Vitamin A aids in inflammation reduction and helps in the development of healthy skin cells. Foods high in Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens.
  4. Zinc: Zinc is essential for protein synthesis and cell growth, playing a significant role in wound healing. Zinc-rich foods include meat, shellfish, seeds, and whole grains.
  5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: They are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can slow down the healing process, hence reducing it is beneficial. Omega-3 sources include fatty fish like salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
  6. Adequate Fluids: Hydration is crucial for maintaining skin elasticity and preventing dehydration, which could hinder the healing process. Regular intake of water, soups, and decaffeinated beverages is recommended.
  7. Vitamin E: This is a potent antioxidant that aids in preventing oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting wound healing. Foods such as almonds, spinach, and avocados are rich in Vitamin E.
  8. Vitamin B Complex: B vitamins, particularly B12, and folate, play a role in cell proliferation. Include foods like lean meat, eggs, dairy products, and fortified cereals.
  9. Iron: Iron is necessary for the formation of collagen and helps transport oxygen to the wound for healing. Iron can be found in foods like red meat, lentils, and dark leafy greens.

It’s crucial for nursing home staff to monitor the nutritional intake of their residents, especially those with pressure sores, and provide suitable meal plans and supplements as needed. Consulting with a dietitian or nutritionist might be beneficial to ensure adequate nutrition. Remember, neglecting nutritional needs in such cases can lead to delayed healing, infection, and complications.

If you or your loved one suffers or suffered from a pressure sore contact an elder abuse lawyer in Los Angeles or an elder abuse attorney in Orange County.