Patients may be at risk or elevated risk from pressure injuries within a very short period of time if re-positioning and pressure relief does not take place.
Anyone can get a pressure ulcer, but the following things can make them more likely to form:
- being over 70 – older people are more likely to have mobility problems and skin that’s more easily damaged through dehydration and other factors
- being confined to bed with illness or after surgery
- inability to move some or all of the body (paralysis)
- urinary incontinence and bowel incontinence
- a poor diet
- medical conditions that affect blood supply, make skin more fragile or cause movement problems – such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, kidney failure, heart failure, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease
The added effect of shearing and friction forces.
Preventing pressure ulcers
It can be difficult to completely prevent pressure ulcers, but there are some things you or your care team can do to reduce the risk.
- regularly changing your position – if you’re unable to change position yourself, a relative or carer will need to help you
- checking your skin every day for early signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers – this will be done by your care team if you’re in a hospital or care home
- having a healthy, balanced diet that contains enough protein and a good variety of vitamins and minerals – if you’re concerned about your diet or caring for someone whose diet may be poor, ask your GP or healthcare team for a referral to a dietitian
- stopping smoking – smoking makes you more likely to get pressure ulcers because of the damage caused to blood circulation
If you’re in a hospital or care home, your healthcare team should be aware of the risk of developing pressure ulcers. They should carry out a risk assessment, monitor your skin and use preventative measures, such as regular repositioning.
If you would like to know how we can help don’t hesitate to contact us.
The article was based on this NHS guide.