Preventing Bedsores

If the person you’re caring for spends a lot of time on the chair or bed, it is important for them to change positions often to prevent bedsores.
Bedsores are areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or wearing a cast for a long time. If not prevented, these bedsores can lead to serious skin, muscle, or bone damage in only a few days. You help prevent bedsores by following the steps below.

Bedsores chart

Check The Skin

Check these areas often for redness–it’s the first sign of a bedsore forming. Talk to the primary healthcare provider if you see anything unusual. The parts of the body most at risk for bedsores are:

• Back of the head
• Shoulders
• Elbows
• Hips
• Lower back
• Tailbone
• Bottom
• Heels

Change Positions

Remind the person you’re caring for to change their position often or shift their weight every 15 minutes. If they need help changing positions, set an alarm at least every 2 hours. Here is a list of tips to change positions if they’re sitting or lying down. You can do these in any order.


  • Help them gently rock side to side
  • Gently bring their arms in front to help them bend forward
  • Help lift their knees up
  • Put a pillow under one hip to relieve pressure–rotate sides every 2 hours
  • Place a pillow behind the lower back

Laying Down

  • Change positions from lying on the back to the side
  • When on the side side, use pillows behind the back or between the knees for support
  • When on the back, place pillows under the lower legs so the heels are floating off the bed without the heels resting on the pillow, as this can still lead to sores
  • Use pillows to prop up the head.

Protect The Skin

Support healthy skin to further protect it and prevent bedsores by following these tips:

  • Use creams to avoid dry skin.
  • Clean the skin if any body fluid gets in contact with it after using the bathroom.
  • Do not rub or cause friction on the skin, especially when changing positions.
  • Support a healthy and balanced diet with enough protein and vitamins.
  • Ensure good fluid intake.

Need More Help?

Contact a doctor for any other questions. The best form of treatment for bedsores is prevention.

Additional Resources

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    Dementia and Skills for Responding to Communication Changes

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    Dementia Caregiver Checklist

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    Living Alone With Dementia

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