A pressure ulcer or bedsore is a skin tissue injury caused by repeated pressure or friction.
Pressure Ulcer Risk Areas
These injuries can usually be observed on a bony prominence and are most commonly seen in patients who are bedbound. A pressure ulcer is injury to skin or tissue that occurs when blood circulation is decreased because of pressure to a specific area.The sacrum, heels, elbows and shoulder blades are particularly prone to pressure ulcers. They are very painful for the patient, and severely reduce the quality of life.
How to Prevent Pressure Ulcers
1. Redistributing the Pressure
Redistributing the weight/pressure on a patient’s body by physically moving the patient, either out of the bed/seat entirely, or just changing position.
Bedding that can be altered to change pressure points.
For example electronic mattresses that use air-flow valves and other mechanics to change the shape of the bed itself. Thus, reducing pressure on specific parts of the body after a set amount of time.
3. Mattress Overlays
Mattress overlays can also be used for patients which are at a lower risk of developing pressure ulcers.
4. Nutritional Supplements
Use of high-protein nutritional supplements or tube feeding for individuals at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
5. Foam Dressings
Using prophylactic foam dressings to protect the skin, ease pressure and prevent friction on bony protrusions (e.g. heels, sacrum) or other body parts that are continually exposed to friction and shear.
6. Skin Moisturiser
Applying skin moisturiser to hydrate dry skin in order to reduce risk of skin breakdown.
7. Skin Barrier Products
Protecting the skin from excessive moisture exposure with a skin barrier product.
Although not all pressure ulcers are preventable, a vast majority can be avoided by having a comprehensive pressure ulcer prevention plan in place that will not only lessen the financial burden but will also relieve the patient of physical and psychological trauma.