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How to Care for a Bed-Ridden Relative

Whether the relative or loved one is elderly or simply battling an illness, ensuring their comfort when they are forced to spend extended periods of time in bed is of utmost importance and goes a long way towards helping them maintain a good quality of life. Here is how best to go about caring for a bed-ridden relative.

Encourage good hygiene

As most people know, feeling sick or weak makes it endlessly tempting to put general hygiene right at the bottom of the priority list. Unfortunately, this can lead to a number of complications and definitely isn’t conducive to feeling better! As a result, it is important to encourage good, consistent hygiene and grooming when looking after a bed-ridden loved one. This should include daily bathing and/or sponge baths, changing their clothes, helping them to brush their teeth, and trimming their nails as necessary.

Prevent bedsores and pressure sores

According to a study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, each year, more than 2.5 million people in the United States develop pressure sores as a result of being bed-ridden for extended periods of time. The secret to preventing them lies in investing in an air mattress for pressure sores. These are available for sale or rent and allow for maximum ventilation, thus reducing the risk of pressure sores or ulcers appearing.

Change bedding regularly

While most people change their bedding weekly or bi-weekly, it is essential to do so more regularly when spending lots of time in bed. Most experts will recommend changing your bed-ridden relative’s bedding every 2 – 3 days to ensure their comfort.

Make sure they are eating well

Proper nutrition could mean the difference between a speedy recovery and struggling to overcome an illness. It is also the secret to boosting energy in elderly people who are battling with weakness, memory issues and fatigue. In short, no matter the reasons for being bed-ridden in the first place, a balanced meal is certain to help the person feel better and stronger. Make the responsibility a bit easier on yourself by prepping meals a few days in advance and freezing them so that you can de-frost and feed them to your loved one as needed. Of course, it is also imperative that you ensure your relative is drinking enough fluids.

Optimize the environment

Nobody wants to lie in a dark, musty room for days on end. Go the extra mile to ensure that the environment is as positive and comfortable as possible by opening a few windows for fresh air, letting in as much natural light as possible and keeping the area tidy. It also helps if the person has access to items and activities that will keep their mind occupied. A good book, magazine or an interesting TV program can go a long way.

Most importantly, ask your relative what they need directly, and be there to perk them up with a chat and a laugh as often as possible. They are sure to be up and about again in no time at all!


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