A spica cast or body cast is utilized in treating children with pelvis, hip or leg issues. Although most find it as an overwhelming task to care for one, it is not as hard as most assume initially.
How to care for a spica cast
Proper care for a spica cast involves keeping it dry, clean and prevention infection and other issues as well as knowing when to get in touch with a doctor.
Drying of the cast
If the spica cast is made of plaster, it requires some time to dry after it is initially used. The child is likely in a semi-sitting position and you must assist him/her while moving. The child must be turned a minimum of 2 hours during the initial 24-48 hours to prevent unequal cast drying. A fan can be used to allow faster drying of the cast. When a hollow sound is heard after tapping the cast, it is dry.
Cleaning and drying
- If the child uses diapers, utilize a smaller size and only the disposable ones. Trim off the adhesive tabs to prevent irritation of the skin and tuck the diaper within the cast starting at the rear of the child and move towards the front. The plastic side of the diaper must face the chest while the absorbent side must be next to the skin. Change the diaper once the child urinates or has a bowel movement.
- In case you can raise a child, who has been potty-trained, assist him/her when using the toilet. Tuck in a piece of plastic food wrap beneath the edge of the cast to guide the waste into the toilet.
- A bigger child can be provided with a bed pan. The child should be in a semi-sitting position where the torso and head are higher than the lower body. The child must turn onto one side and slide the bed pan under his/her bottom. After returning to the semi-sitting pose, modify the pan as needed.
- Heavily soiled areas in the cast must be cleaned. With a damp cloth with or without cleanser, wipe the dirty areas. Toothpaste can be used on the soiled areas to eliminate any odors.
- In case the cast is wet, dry it with a hair dryer on low, cool setting.
- Provide the child with a daily sponge bath.
Positioning and comfort
The following techniques can keep the child safe and comfortable:
- Apply moleskin padding on the borders of the open area around the child’s genitals and bottom.
- Check if swelling is present. The toes of the child must be warm and pink and could be wiggled and feel being touched.
- Check for any indications of skin irritation. Assess the skin around the edges of the spica cast daily. Utilize a flashlight to check under the borders of the cast.
Change the position every 2-4 hours. Regular movement alleviates the pressure areas under the cast to prevent irritation and sores.