Skilled Nursing Therapy For Immobile Stroke Patients

Posted on: 13 January 2022

Stroke patients who are bedridden and immobile face numerous challenges. While some of their challenges may be psychosocial in nature as a result of depression, boredom, frustration, and anxiety, other challenges can be more life-threatening. If your loved one has suffered a stroke and is recovering in a long-term care facility, here are some skilled nursing therapy treatments that they may receive to help promote the healing process.

Wound Care

Immobile stroke patients are at a greater risk for developing decubitus ulcers, also called bedsores and pressure ulcers. When people are unable to change positions independently, excessive pressure is placed on the bony prominences of the body such as the heels, coccyx, hips, and ankles. Immobile stroke patients may also have poor circulation, which is also a risk factor for pressure ulcers.

Decubitus ulcers form in stages, from stage I to stage IV. The former refers to minor redness of the skin, and the latter refers to extensive soft tissue damage and tissue necrosis that may affect the underlying tendons, muscles, and bones.

Stage IV decubitus ulcers require skilled nursing therapy interventions to help promote healing and lower the risk for osteomyelitis, a type of severe bone infection. Surgical debridement is considered a skilled treatment where the wound care nurse or the physician removes the infected or necrotic skin of the pressure ulcer to help the wound heal. Surgical debridement is performed in conjunction with wound cleansings, topical ointment applications, and dressing changes.

Intravenous Therapy

Another skilled nursing treatment your loved one may receive while in the skilled nursing facility is intravenous therapy. If the stroke survivor is unable to take their medications by mouth because of immobility, swallowing problems, or paralysis, then they may need to receive them intravenously. Immobile or paralyzed stroke patients who try to take medications by mouth may be at risk for choking.

In addition to administering the intravenous medication, the nurse will monitor the catheter access site for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, increased skin temperature over the affected area, and discharge. Dressing changes will also be performed over the access site as per the physician's orders. 

If your loved one has suffered a stroke and is recovering in a long-term care facility, talk to the director of nursing if you have questions or concerns about the skilled nursing therapy interventions that the patient is receiving. When intravenous therapy and decubitus ulcer interventions are implemented in a timely manner, patients may be more likely to enjoy a more comfortable and complication-free recovery. For more information, reach out to a nursing therapy service near you.