Bedridden patients have a unique set of requirements compared to others that may be marginally mobile. While it is ideal to have patients moving as much as possible, this is not always feasible in every situation. Immobility can lead to further complications in a variety of bodily systems. We are here to highlight some of the considerations for your bedridden loved ones.
Being bedridden is challenging for the patient and the caregivers, both emotionally and physically. Try to make their immediate environment as comfortable and accessible as possible. Consider some of the following aspects:
- Fresh air is important, so ensure you can open windows and let in a breeze as often as possible
- Natural light is best for getting vitamin D and improving mood
- Think about installing a Clapper for overhead lights
- Purchase adjustable bedside lights with touch on and off
- Ensure the room is free from outside noise disturbances
- Purchase at least two sets of high-quality, breathable bed linen
- Change the bed linen every two days and more if required
- Ensure an adequate arrangement of pillows that can help with changing positions
- Entertainment like TVs, radios, tablets, books, and magazines are excellent but remember that nothing compares to human interaction
It can be tempting to give a bedridden patient whatever their heart desires, but it’s best to consult their doctor about what foods to offer. Some might need a more restrictive diet due to certain medications, while others are recommended to have multiple, small meals throughout the day. Patients recovering from surgery should maintain a healthy diet. Water and low-sugar drinks should always be accessible, and note that you may need to monitor their intake to ensure that they don’t get dehydrated.
A recommendation for staying mobile may seem ridiculous for someone that is bedridden, but it’s instrumental to their overall health. Refer to their doctor or physiotherapist’s advice for what exercises would be beneficial and avoid harm. Regular movement can improve mental and physical health and aid in recovery. Moreover, it will significantly assist in the prevention of bedsores and ward off infection.
Being a caregiver for a bedridden loved one can be isolating, and you may feel cut off from your everyday life. For your own well-being and subsequently that of your bedridden loved one, it is integral that you consider your own needs as well. Speak to your doctor about the options for short-term professional help, which can give you time to meet up with a friend or run errands. There may also be the opportunity for administering clinical trials to patients at home. Online support groups can also be a lifeline to the outside world and enable you to reach others in similar situations.
Even if your loved one has the best doctors and team of medical professionals in the world, remember that you know them best. Keep watch for signs of depression, back pain, or loss of appetite. Problems with sleeping and a change in bathroom habits could all be signs of more significant issues, so keep watch and monitor your findings if necessary.