(EFFINGHAM, IL)  – Nearly 66 million caregivers in the United States provide care to someone who is ill, disabled or elderly, and make up almost 29 percent of the U.S. adult population. Services rendered by caregivers are valued at over $470 billion per year. Caregivers can be responsible for shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, giving medications, grooming and bathing. As a result, caregivers can experience challenges caring for other and coping with the ups and downs of everyday life.  
HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Wound Healing Center Case Manager Tory Buhnerkempe, RN, CWCA, shared, “Giving appropriate skin care is such an important role for caregivers,” she said.  “We are happy to help anyone with education for prevention or care of wounds that occur.”
HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center, a member of the Healogics, Inc. network, offers the following tips for caregivers:

  • Pressure ulcers, better known as bedsores, can be life-threatening if left untreated. The first visible sign of a pressure ulcer may be an area of persistent skin redness. This may progress to blue or purple color and be associated with a change in skin temperature or texture.

  • Check the feet and between toes for blisters, cuts and scratches daily when caring for people with diabetes.

  • Use commercially available pressure reducing cushions and mattresses, but avoid those that resemble egg crate foam and/or donut shaped cushions. Place a pillow under the calves to prevent heels from touching the bed, and use pillows and foam wedges to keep ankles and knees apart.

  • In treating incontinence, cleanse skin, use a topical moisture barrier and select absorbent briefs or under pads that provide a quick drying surface to the skin.

  • Use mild soaps and water when bathing and apply skin moisturizers to prevent dryness.

  • Conditions that prevent blood flow contribute to chronic wounds, and sitting with crossed legs can cause pressure on the nerves and blood vessels.

  • Those with immobility challenges should change position every 15 minutes when sitting and at least every two hours in bed.  Be gentle and avoid friction which could damage the skin.

  • Watch out for signs of depression when serving as a caregiver, and seek support from others. Heartland Human Services has a Caregivers Resource Guide which can be downloaded which has local information for those seeking help and support. Visit heartlandhs.org and check out their Resource Library. Heartland also has a Caregiver Advisor, who can help make referrals, provide respite assessments, and provide overall support to the caregiver. Contact Trisha Ratliff at Heartland Human Services at 217-347-7179, Ext. 1062.

For more information on what you can do as a caregivers, contact HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Wound Healing Center at 217-347-3565.  HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center has been caring for chronic wounds since January 2010. The Center has been recognized by Healogics as a Center of Excellence each year since opening. Through advanced wound healing methods, including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, and highly trained providers and clinicians, over 90 percent of St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center patients have been healed annually. 
About Healogics, Inc.
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Healogics is the nation’s leading provider of advanced wound care services. Healogics and its affiliated companies manage a nationwide network of Wound Care Centers® and cared for over 300,000 new patients in 2017 through an integrated network of partner hospitals and Wound Care Centers, academic medical centers, and other post‐acute sites. Healogics utilizes an evidence‐based standards of care to chronic wound healing to treat an underserved and growing patient population. For more information, please visit www.healogics.com.

Media Contact

Brad Ochiltree

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (217) 464-1161

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