Monthly Archives: April 2013
Bed Sores – The Prevention Guide
The menacing threat of “bed sores” and their danger to a bedridden patients’ health is belied by its innocuous name. Medical professionals commonly refer to these dangerous, acquired wounds as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers or ischemic ulcers. Most at risk, are those in long-term care (nursing homes or hospitals), age 70+, who spend a significant of time in bed, lying down, hence the term – bedsore.1
The condition often results after capillary blood flow to certain areas of the body is restricted for long durations. This type of tissue damage only occurs when a patient is unable to change their body position due to a mobility, medical or neurological issue; capillary blood flow is interrupted and tissue damage eventually results.2 Under normal conditions, our bodies provide feedback to our brains that tell us we need to move or shift our position. We do, and normal blood flow returns to the small capillary vessels within our body tissue and skin.
The parts of the body most often impacted from bedsores include the heels, elbows and buttocks. The bony prominences of these skeletal protrusions direct considerably more body weight in these areas when lying down or in a seated position. When a person is unable to change their position or shift their weight, the result can be a dramatic and difficult-to-treat wound.
Armed with the right knowledge and products, potentially life-threatening pressure sores may be avoided all together.
How to Prevent Pressure Sores
First, always consult with a physician when a pressure sore is first noticed. Proper medical attention will ensure the best treatment alternatives. However, preventative measures can reduce the risk of dangerous pressure sores from occurring.
The concept is relatively simple. We want to reduce the direct pressure on any area of the body that could be in prolonged contact with another surface. To understand this concept, take your thumb and press it into your knee. The relatively small area of the tip of your thumb exerts a relatively large amount of pressure in a fairly small area. That pressure, which is focused around the area of the thumb, is high. If left for too long, the area of pressure will reduce blood circulation, eventually damaging the skin and turning into an open wound. Now, instead of using your thumb, place the palm of your hand over your knee and apply a little pressure. This time, the larger surface area of your hand distributes the force over a larger surface area. That larger surface area does not create the same pressure or damage in the way your thumb did. Key to preventing pressure sores is the distribution of force from high pressure areas on the body and ensuring uninterrupted blood flow through these areas.
Preventing Pressure Sores for the Bed-Bound
As the name suggests, bed sores afflict those unable to move in bed. A patient’s heels and elbows and buttocks are at risk. Fortunately, a number of products are available to help prevent pressure sores for the bed-bound.
Alternating Pressure Mattress
The best product for bed sore prevention is an alternating pressure pad or low air loss mattress. These devices use a pump and inflatable mattress overlay which systematically increases and decreases pressure though out the pad. These changes in pressure help relieve areas of high pressure contact between the body and the bed. While these systems can cost thousands of dollars, versions are available for as little as $49.
Good – $49
- Supports up to 250 pounds
- Easy to setup
- 1 ½” support thickness
Better – $682
- Supports up to 350 pounds
- 8” of pressure support
- Wide range of pressure variation
Best – $1,083
- Supports up to 450 pounds
- 8” of pressure support
- Performance pump produces constant airflow
Heel & Elbow – Simple Alternatives
Other, less sophisticated products are available to help protect the skin from breakdown due to pressure. These products include heel and elbow protective pads that are worn around the patient’s heel or elbow, held in place with some kind of strapping or elastic. Made from sheepskin, synthetic material or even “ROHO dry flotation” (the same pressure relieving air bubble product used in ROHO wheelchair cushions),
- Made from ROHO dry flotation
- Lightweight and easy-to-clean
- Cell pressure is adjustable
- Corefill polyester fiber
- Protects and warms the foot
- Machine washable
- Natural leather and wool
- Absorbs more moisture
- Machine washable
The danger of bed sores is avoidable. Under most conditions, a low air loss or alternating pressure mattress is the ideal approach in preventing the development of bed sores. At minimum, simple and inexpensive products like heel and elbow protective cushions are a great first step.
AllegroMedical.com has a variety of solutions to help you prevent pressure sores and to keep your patient or loved one comfortable.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online source of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your health supplies.
1) Fogerty M, Guy J, Barbul A, et al. African Americans show increased risk for pressure ulcers: A retrospective analysis of acute care hospitals in America. Wound Repair Regen. Aug 11 2009;[Medline].
2) Schweinberger MH, Roukis TS. Effectiveness of Instituting a Specific Bed Protocol in Reducing Complications Associated with Bed Rest. J Foot Ankle Surg. Apr 1 2010;[Medline].
Do you think YOU will need long-term care when you get older?
By Lauran Neergaard and Jennifer Agiesta, Associated Press | Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — We’re in denial: Americans underestimate their chances of needing long-term care as they get older — and are taking few steps to get ready.
A new poll examined how people 40 and over are preparing for this difficult and often pricey reality of aging, and found two-thirds say they’ve done little to no planning.
In fact, 3 in 10 would rather not think about getting older at all. Only a quarter predict it’s very likely that they’ll need help getting around or caring for themselves during their senior years, according to the poll by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
That’s a surprise considering… Read entire article
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 2.5 million people Worldwide and 400,000 in the US. 1 Women are more often diagnosed with MS, and first symptoms tend to strike during your prime years of life. To understand MS, picture a frayed electrical cord where the electric current short-circuits causing appliances to deactivate. The protective coating (myelin) of your nerves is a conductor for nerve pulses to transmit messages from your brain through your spinal cord for your body parts to perform specific actions. When the myelin is destroyed (demyelination) similar to a frayed electrical cord our nerve impulses in the brain or spinal cord “short-circuit”, resulting in MS symptoms like visual disorders, fatigue, numbness, and mobility and walking issues. 2 Research shows that within 10 to 15 years of an MS diagnosis, 80% of individuals will experience difficulty walking.3 Mobility devices such as powered scooters help increase activity and mobility in users.4 If you or a loved one suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and experience difficulty walking an electric mobility scooter can help keep you independent and active.
My sister, Lisa, has been living with Relapse-Remitting MS for over 20 years and during exacerbations when her MS flares-up, causing her fatigue and mobility problems, she turns to her Go-Go Elite Traveller 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter. Lisa chose a Pride Mobility Go-Go Travel Mobility Scooter because of the easy assembly and disassembly. The pieces are super lightweight making it convenient to transport and store.
Lisa with Sparky at ASU Football Game in her Go-Go Elite Mobility Scooter
“I am able to go almost anywhere, with ease and comfort; The State Fair, Oktoberfest, Football Games, Theme Parks, Grocery Stores and Department Stores. The portable design allows for easy assembly. I’m not lifting, anything to heavy(28 lbs-heaviest part) and can put it together while standing, a major plus. It fits nicely in the trunk of my car…”
If you would like to read more of what Lisa has to say about her electric mobility scooter checkout her review of the Go-Go Elite. She has helpful hints to make your scooting experience better.
Electric Mobility Scooters aren’t just for people with disabilities. They are great for aging adults who are no longer comfortable driving or individuals that have difficulty walking longer distances and want to maintain freedom outside of the home. The Drive Phoenix 3 Wheel Travel Mobility Scooter is AllegroMedical.com’s most popular electric mobility device. Users of the Phoenix 3 Wheel Mobility Scooter describe it as easy to transport with only 4 light weight parts for quick assembly and disassembly.
“Although, I haven’t owned this item long, I can already tell that it’s a great product. I recently had back surgery that failed. The Drive mobility scooter is perfect for my shopping and traveling, because I can not walk without a cane or walker or go any great distance on my own. Since it breaks down into several light weight parts, it’s easy to transport. I feel like it’s the answer to getting some part of my life back. I am very pleased with this product.” AllegroMedical.com Review by Susie Homemaker from Arkansas
AllegroMedical.com has a variety of mobility assistive devices for help inside and outside of the home. Whether you need a scooter to get around everyday or just for trips to the grocery store don’t let your disability keep you from living an active independent lifestyle.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online source of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your mobility and other health supplies.
The cause of MS is still a mystery. One current theory links MS to lack of sunlight exposure.
Tampa Bay Times – Annette Funicello, who died last week at age 70 of complications from multiple sclerosis, was diagnosed just as scientific knowledge about the disease was on the brink of expanding.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for multiple sclerosis in 1993, a year after the beloved original Mouseketeer announced she had the condition. Around the same time, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) came into widespread use, which revolutionized…
Read entire article at turnto23.com
Crutches are used to provide support to anyone with a leg injury or weakened balance. A walker can also help with these problems; however, a walker only provides balance and keeps some of the weight off the lower body. On the other hand, crutches keep all the weight off one leg entirely.
A simple search for crutches on AllegroMedical.com will bring up the universal aluminum crutches, quad canes and forearm crutches. All of these can aid in gait training and balance but in different amounts.
Universal aluminum crutches have a weight capacity ranging from 175-300lbs and are height adjustable in 1” increments. The hand grips can be moved up or down with the help of a bush button or a wing/nut adjustment. They include underarm pads for comfort and tips for traction. When fitting these crutches, first set the height. To do this, the user should be standing straight up, and the arm pad should rest against the rib cage or roughly one to two inches below the armpit. It is important that the pad never presses into the armpit. This could cause pain and pressure on nerves leading to numbness. After the height is set, move to the hand grips. Elbows should be in a slightly bent position when using the crutches. 1
For a cane or quad cane the handle or top of the cane should be even with your wrist when your arm is relaxed. While stabilizing yourself on a chair, relax the arm you will use the cane with. The crease/bend in the wrist should hit the top of the cane and this will allow your elbow to maintain a bend. Remember to use the cane on the opposite side of the body that needs support. This way, when walking, you will be able to stabilize yourself while bringing the injured leg forward. 2
Sizing forearm crutches are similar to sizing a cane. Again the crease of the wrist should be level with the top of the cane when the arm is in a relaxed position. Place the crutch so the open end of the cuff is facing the same direction as your body. The cuff should be one to two inches below your elbow and the thickest part should be around your forearm. Again, the crutch should be on the opposite side that needs support just like when using a cane. 3
The type and degree of injury which the user suffers affects which type of equipment piece they will use. Remember, crutches require more coordination, balance and support than a cane but both can be used to keep weight off of an injured leg. The above are general guidelines to use when fitting the user but be sure consult a doctor or therapist for specific instructions.
For more than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of balance, support, mobility, and other home health supplies.
1Schweizer, Kristin, MPT. “Deal With… Proper Crutch Use.” Caring Today Magazine, LLC. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www.caringtoday.com/deal-with/proper-crutch-use>.
2“How to Use Crutches, Canes, and Walkers -OrthoInfo – AAOS.” OrthoInfo. AAOS, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00181>.
3“Tips & Advice Center: Crutches.” Justwalkers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://justwalkers.com/crutches-tips>.
Skin protection from bacteria, infection, and injury is important in the workplace, medical settings, and for caregivers. Our hands are one of the most exposed parts of our bodies and subject to any number of dangers. The most obvious way of safeguarding our hands is by wearing protective gloves. Exam gloves come in several types to suit a wide range of needs and provide protection under many conditions.
Medical gloves have long been made from latex rubber, a natural material, that can be turned into a thin protective barrier without sacrificing dexterity and sensitivity to touch. Latex gloves have been the standard in the operating room for doctors and in hospitals since their development by Ansell Limited in 1945. 1
Despite a growing number of latex-related allergies, latex exam gloves are still the first choice by medical professionals. Because they are disposable, inexpensive and versatile, latex gloves remain the most popular glove choice for general protection. Unless the caregiver or patient has a known latex allergy, these gloves provide excellent comfort and resistance to biological material like blood, urine, saliva and fecal waste.
Best Selling Latex Glove:
Latex Powder Free Exam Glove: Item 560801
- High degree of dexterity
- Made from natural materials
- Great general protection
- Potential risk of allergic reaction
Nitrile & Vinyl
Because of the increasing rate of latex allergies in the medical community and population at large, new materials have been developed in the use of glove manufacturing.2 Nitril and vinyl are materials that avoid allergic reactions and also offer unique characteristics themselves.3 Nitrile, for example, is a resilient material that has proven to be more puncture and tear resistant than its’ traditional counterpart. At the same time, nitrile gloves are resistant to many harsh chemicals like gasoline, oil, grease and solvents that would virtually dissolve the same latex glove.4 In addition, nitrile gloves are available in a number of color choices, including pink, purple, blue and black.
Because of their resistance to punctures from potentially contaminated needles, and the general risk of latex allergic reaction, nitrile gloves are often seen on paramedics, firefighters, law enforcement officers and other first-responders. 4
Best Selling Nitrile Glove:
Invacare Nitrile Powder-Free Exam Gloves: Item 214274
- No risk of allergic reaction
- Great overall gross dexterity
- Made from synthetic material
- Best puncture resistance
Vinyl exam gloves also have their place in the medical and patient care setting. Not intended to provide the same amount of protection and comfort, vinyl exam gloves are easier to don than their stretchy cousins. They are well suited to aid in certain roles such as dispensing medication, patient handling and food service. Vinyl gloves are the least expensive glove option, costing almost half as much as latex or nitrile gloves.
Best Selling Vinyl Glove:
Powder Free Vinyl Exam Gloves: Item 562943
- No risk of allergic reaction
- Least expensive protective glove
- Great for low contamination risk needs
With good choices for skin protection and a variety of materials to choose from, it’s easy to find the type of exam glove to suite almost any need. The right glove can prevent contamination, aid in delicate surgical procedures, and lesson the risk of injury. The most difficult decision today in the selection of the right glove may come down to what color do I choose?
More than 15 years, AllegroMedical.com has been the leading online distributor of home health and wellness products. Rely on Allegro Medical for all of your exam gloves and other health supplies.
1 ^ “100 Years of Australian Innovation – latex gloves”. Retrieved 2010-03-07
2 Feng C, Wang H. Natural rubber latex allergy among health care workers. J Allergy Clin Immunol. Jun 2007;119(6):1561; author reply 1561. [Medline].
3 ^ “NIOSH Alert:Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace”. United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
4 Why Use Nitrile Gloves? The Glove Nation Knowledgebase
Wheelchair cushions are designed for both user comfort and for the prevention of pressure sores. Wheelchair users that do not have feeling in their bottoms must shift their weight often to prevent pressure sores. One possible contributor to pressure sores can be the inhibition of blood flow to the skin. In a wheelchair, this is most likely to happen where the pelvic bone is close to the skin. Typically, that happens when you sit in the same position for long periods of time. Conversely, skin injuries can also occur by frequent moving which may cause friction and tearing of the skin. A good cushion can help eliminate some of the pressure and friction as well.
Several very inexpensive foam cushions are on the market that can be used for comfort. These are mostly for the elderly or users that have feeling below the waist. They help a little, but not much in the prevention of pressure sores. When you push your hand into foam it will spring back to shape after removing your hand. This rebound effect is what you would like to avoid when trying to prevent pressure sores. Instead, consider higher quality gel or air cushions.
Gel cushions are better at distributing the weight and spreading the pressure across your pelvis. The Jay 2 is a perfect example. When you press your hand into the gel of the Jay 2, the gel shows your hand imprint. Similarly, it conforms to your body and doesn’t push back into your skin. The gel moves with you, reducing friction against the skin.
Air is another great way to prevent pressure sores. The Roho Low Profile cushion is made of hundreds of interconnected air cells.
When you push your hand into one part of the cushion, the air moves to the cells around it and doesn’t push back into your hand. The air fills all the nooks and crannies of your pelvis, distributing your weight evenly.
Choosing between air and gel is a personal preference. The gel cushion always feels a little more stable to me, but there is nothing like sitting on air. Both are excellent at wound prevention and range in price from $100 to under $300.
Please always consult with your doctor to choose the cushion that is best for you. With one of the broadest selections on the web for health and wellness products, you can always rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your personal care and special condition needs.
Our feet take a pounding. Literally. The result of hitting the ground repeatedly, wearing shoes, and sweat is often dry, callused, and rough feet. Unlike the rest of the skin, our feet do not have oil glands, and therefore, rely on sweat to stay moisturized. Athletes tend to have cracked skin due to the amount of strain they put on their feet and how much they sweat1.
Cold weather can also play a part in dry or cracked feet because moisture is hard to replenish. In the winter months there is a limited amount of humidity in the air and people also have a tendency to take hot showers. The constant switch from hot to cold is hard on the skin resulting in water loss and leaves it dry2.
For those living with Diabetes, foot care is especially crucial. Diabetics are highly susceptible to dry skin because when glucose levels are high, the skin and tissues are depleted of vital moisture3.The result is extremely dry and cracked skin. Another cause is the poor circulation suffered by diabetics. Fortunately, many products exist to help treat skin conditions of the foot.
Although a nice pedicure is always a treat for your feed, over the long-term, such indulgence may be financially burdensome. Luckily, Allegromedical.com carries numerous foot care creams, including PediFix Deep-Healing Foot Cream, Diabet-X Callus Treatment, and Pedigenix.
PediFix Deep-Healing Foot Creamis designed for those with either Diabetes or sensitive skin. It contains Urea, Lanolin, Vitamins A, D and E to soft rough heels, corns and calluses. Available for more than 120 years, PediFix consulted doctors to help develop this innovative, non-greasy formula.
Diabet-X Callus Treatment is another great product available on Allegromedical.com. Another helpful aid for people with Diabetes, it can be used on not only the feet but on the fingers and elbows as well. The formula also contains antimicrobial ingredients to guard against infection and lasts up to two hours after application.
Pedigenix is unique because it is consists of a four-part system designed to treat and then prevent dry skin. It is formulated with nature extracts of cucumber and menthol to refresh the feet, visibly healing rough, dry skin in days. There are two daily products to wash and soften your feet and two treatment products to smooth and dry them. The cleaner and lotion are the preventative products, and the exfoliant and deodorizing powder provide a complete solution to treat the dry skin. Pedigenix is diabetic-friendly and is effective against hyperkeratosis tissue, calluses and bromhidrosis4.
The product you choose can play an important role in the health of your feet. A complete regiment can offer an effective treatment to target the issues4. Rely on AllegroMedical.com for all of your health and wellness needs from skin care to diabetes and more.
1Sugar, Jenny. “5 Ways to Show Your Running Feet Some Love.” FitSugar. POPSUGAR, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 02 Apr. 2013. <http://www.fitsugar.com/Tips-Ease-Sore-Runners-Feet-Prevent-Injury-22125091>.
2CNN Help My Dry, Winter Skin. Perf. Susan Hendricks. CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Dec. 2011. Web. 02 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/video/>.
3Franklin, Della. “Dry Skin: Diabetes and Your Skin.” Disabled World. N.p., 13 Aug. 2007. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/dry-skin.shtml>.
4 “Pedigenix Foot Care System.” Pedigenix Foot Care System. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. <http://www.hygenic-news.com/Pedigenix/index.html>.
Are you spending more time helping your aging family members? If your elderly parents, spouse, or loved ones are approaching their seventies and are living ‘independently’ in their home, you may notice significantly more time and energy is need to assist them with general tasks. You aren’t quite a ‘caregiver’ for them, but you worry more about their safety and ability to remain independent. Keeping your aging parents active and independent or enabling a spouse or other family member to stay self-reliant throughout their elder years delays the costs and emotional drain of hiring or providing caregiving. AllegroMedical.com offers four “Caregiver Approved” products that will provide you with peace-of-mind and help keep your loved ones independent longer.
We’ve all seen the commercials where an elderly lady has fallen and can’t get up. With one third of adults age 65 and older at risk for falling, it is important to be prepared in advance of a fall.1 The longer your loved remains on the floor after a fall, the more likely they are to develop secondary injuries (i.e., muscle damage, pressure sores, pneumonia, and dehydration). Additionally, lying on the floor for more than one hour is associated with a higher incidence of death within the next six to 12 months.2 An emergency alert system with a wireless pendant can call for help at the touch of a button. The Telemergency 2000 Telephone & Wireless Emergency Alert Pendant is affordable without requiring a monthly subscription and doubles as an amplified telephone with large easy-to-read buttons. The wireless pendant conveniently acts as a speakerphone avoiding a dangerous rush to the phone in addition to an emergency alert.
“Has a pendant to use if you are dizzy or can’t get to phone to call for help. Can turn on or off emergency calling feature and even talk from your bed to person returning your call.” AllegroMedical.com review by rrc from Geneva,NY
Transitioning from a sit-to-standing position poses many challenges for aging adults, especially when trying to rise from a toilet safely. The Toilevator, designed by the Center for Studies in Aging, raises the toilet from the floor allowing for an easier transition from a sit-to-stand or stand-to-sit position. The ability to independently manage toileting allows an aging loved one to maintain their dignity and modesty.
“This toilet riser allowed us to raise the height of our toilet so my husband could sit and rise easier without losing the use of a specialized toilet seat we use for cleanliness. My sons installed it using only a few tools in about an hour.” AllegroMedical.com review by Jane from Illinois
Elderly adults experience age-associated changes in muscle strength and posture control. These changes make it more difficult to avoid falling while reaching or bending for a dropped item.3 Pick-up tools like an aluminum reacher with magnetic tip assist your elderly parent in retrieving dropped items or items stored out of reach safely without help. AllegroMedical.com customers use this reacher to remove laundry out of dryer, boxed crackers and cereal out of the cupboard, and to pick up shoes from the floor.
“If something falls, I can retrieve it myself immediately without help. I can also reach items on shelves that were previously too high. Really makes a difference in everyday living. ” AllegroMedical.com review by Mondel from Illinois
Toileting poses many challenges in elderly people. Aside from the sitting and standing issues, aging causes biochemical and physiological changes of the body that could result in skin sensitivities.4 Other issues such vision impairments may make it difficult for the elderly to know when they are ‘clean’. Good personal hygiene is important for physical health. The EZ Wash Solution ComfortSeat allows your elderly family member to easily clean themselves after toileting with the turn of a dial. The unit attaches to your toilet and doesn’t require electricity.
“I was worried my husband wouldn’t like this product because it doesn’t heat the water, but he said it was fine. It is very helpful for someone who has difficulty wiping themselves–my husband has Parkinson’s disease. I had it installed in a vacation home. I had a plumber do it, but I believe it is quite easy. It doesn’t require any electricity, only a connection into the water supply line for the toilet.” AllegroMedical.com review by Pamsc from South Carolina
Helping an elderly spouse, parent, or loved one remain independent and active benefits everyone’s quality of life. AllegroMedical.com is here to help keep your aging family members independent and assist you with all of your caregiver needs.
4 Siddons, Sarah. “Are all soaps safe for people of all ages?” 20 August 2009. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/products/soaps-safe-for-people.htm> 28 March 2013.