A woman lying on her side on a bed, demonstrating the use of a specialized blue bedsore pillow. The pillow is designed to support the body and relieve pressure points to prevent the formation of bedsores. She is wearing a teal top and black pants, and her eyes are closed, suggesting comfort and relaxation. The pillow is placed under her torso, aligning with her body. Large, bold text on the image states 'NO MORE BED SORES!' emphasizing the pillow's purpose. The setting is a bedroom with wooden panel walls and a bed with beige sheets.

Preventing and Treating Bed Sores – Positioning Pillows or Cushions

Bed sores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are a significant concern for individuals who spend extended periods in bed.

They can be frustrating, stressful, and even fatal if not properly managed.

Fortunately, there are effective strategies and tools available to prevent and treat bed sores. In this post, I’ll share some valuable insights on bed sore management using positioning pillows or cushions. If you prefer a video with instructions on how to place the pillows, I recommend checking out my YouTube video below.

Understanding Bed Sores

Before we begin on how you can use pillows or cushions for preventing bed sores, let’s talk about how they develop. Bed sores are caused by a combination of constant pressure, moisture, and friction. They typically develop in areas where the bone is close to the skin’s surface, such as the back of the head, shoulder blades, coccyx, sacrum, along the spine, and ankle area. As an Occupational Therapist, preventing and treating bed sores has been part of my work with patients for a long time.

Positioning Pillows or Cushions: A Key Tool in Prevention

So, now that we understand how bed sores develop, let’s talk about positioning pillows or cushions. Positioning pillows are specifically designed to offload pressure from vulnerable areas, aiding in both the prevention and healing of bed sores. There are a variety of pillows and cushions designed to help with preventing bed sores available on the market. I chose three different types of pillows, each with unique features and varying price points to accommodate different needs and budgets.

Please note: Before we begin, you need to make sure you follow all the instructions and warnings provided by the manufacturer.  The steps below are only to provide guidance with installing or assembling equipment, but you should always follow the warnings and instructions provided by the manufacturer and always speak with your medical team before adding new equipment to your routine.

First, let’s talk a look at the budget-friendly pillow.

1. Budget-Friendly Bed Sore Pillow

This bed sore positioning pillow is the most affordable, priced around $50*. It consists of a small half-moon-sized pillow that fits into a wedge. The key feature is the cutout, which aims to achieve zero pressure on the sore region. Made of a closed foam with a synthetic cover, it’s important to note that this pillow is not waterproof. For those dealing with weeping wounds or incontinence, a waterproof pad over the pillow is recommended.

An image showcasing a specialty bed pillow designed to prevent and treat bedsores. The pillow is white and shaped in a unique contoured form with a cutout area in the center. It is shown in use: a person lying on their side on a bed, with the pillow placed between their knees to alleviate pressure. The person is wearing teal pajamas, and only their body from the neck down is visible, highlighting the positioning of the pillow. An arrow graphic points to the space created by the pillow's design, indicating the area intended to reduce pressure on the body.

You can see, when placed into position, the cutout creates space between the sore region and the bed. To check, I can fit my hand under the pillow and feel that there is space between my hand and the bed.

The image depicts a caregiver assisting a patient in bed. The patient, a bald man, is lying on his back with his head resting on a pillow and his arms crossed over his chest. He is wearing a black T-shirt and appears relaxed. The caregiver, a woman wearing a teal top and black pants, is kneeling on the bed beside him. She's carefully checking the space between the patient's body and an ergonomically designed bedsore prevention pillow, which is placed under his lower back. The room has wooden paneling and a simple decor, with a large window allowing natural light to enter.

2. Lunder Pillow: Versatile and Comfortable

Priced at $110*, the Lunderg pillow has a crescent moon shape and comes with two covers, including a waterproof layer. Its unique expand-ability feature allows for additional height adjustment, making it suitable for various body sizes and levels of offloading needed. This pillow is particularly advantageous for taller individuals, providing ample support and pressure relief.

This image features a product advertisement for the 'Lunderg Bedsores Pillow,' a specialized pillow designed to help with turning and positioning to prevent and treat bedsores. In the top portion of the image, a man is lying on his side in a bed with the dark teal, wedge-shaped pillow placed under his back. He is wearing a white T-shirt and grey pants, with only the upper half of his body shown. The text emphasizes that the pillow helps with turning and positioning and includes two non-skid pillowcases. Below is a close-up of the pillow itself, showcasing its curved, ergonomic shape with a dotted teal line accenting its contoured edge. The text on the side also highlights that the pillow has an easily adjustable angle. The branding 'LUNDERG' is prominently displayed in the bottom right corner.

3. Jewell Nursing Solutions Cushion: Premium Choice

At $117*, this cushion by Jewell Nursing Solutions mirrors the shape and size of the Lunderg pillow but with a non-removable water-resistant cover. Manufactured in the USA, it comes with an instructional manual with valuable wound management information. This pillow offers a comfortable balance between support and softness, making it an good choice for effective bed sore prevention and treatment.

The image displays an ergonomically designed bedsore prevention pillow called Bedsore Rescue by Jewell Nursing Solutions. It has a unique contoured shape, wider at one end and tapering at the other. The pillow is covered in a non-skid, textured fabric on the top surface and has a solid navy blue color on the sides. A visible label with the Bedsore Rescue logo is attached to the side, indicating the brand. This type of pillow is typically used to relieve pressure and prevent bedsores for individuals confined to lying in bed for extended periods.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Bed Sores with Positioning Pillows or Cushions

Preventing bed sores is crucial for the health and comfort of individuals. Positioning pillows are an essential tool in this effort, providing targeted relief and support. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a premium option, there’s a pillow or cushion that can help. Remember, proper positioning, along with regular monitoring and care, is key to preventing painful and potentially dangerous sores.

*all prices are at the time of publishing

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