Washing Feet

While caring for my mother, maintaining her skin integrity was a priority. As a professional nurse, I knew how easy it was to develop bed sores, as well as how difficult they can be to heal. After only two weeks in a nursing home, she was dehydrated, with dry, scaly skin, and had developed decubitus (bed sores) on both heels. It wasn't until we moved her out of the nursing home and into ours that we discovered the sores on her heels. Fortunately, with proper treatment, her bed sores healed, and I began a practice of massaging her feet twice a day. She never developed another decubitus.

My routine for caring for mother's skin, with an emphasis on pressure points included:
- Keeping her clean with daily baths using Dove soap with moisturizers.
- Rubbing her skin with moisturizers after her bath and at bedtime, massaging her back, heels, elbows and hands twice a day.
- Using clean clothing, pajamas and socks every day.
- Changing all bed linen every day.
- Keeping her hydrated. Mother never asked for anything, but she would drink whatever I offered her.
- Providing a balanced diet with adequate protein. I gave her an ensure every day.
- Using heel protectors. When she was out of bed and sitting up in her Geri-chair, I kept her feet in boots like these that were lined with lambskin and kept her heels from touching the chair.

- Changing her position to rotate pressure points. Mother was unable to change her own position. While she was in bed, I would turn her every two hours. During the night, the use of an alternating pressure mattress made it possible for me to sleep for several hours without waking to turn her. Using a hydraulic lift, I moved her from the bed to the geri chair after her morning bath. After lunch I would put her back in her bed and on either side for a few hours, to relieve the pressure from sitting in the chair. She went back to her chair before supper and then back to bed later in the evening.
-Keeping her cool and her skin dry. I had to be alert for her tendency in our humid climate to develop perspiration.

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