Who is at risk of developing pressure ulcers?
People may be at risk of developing pressure ulcers, often referred to as Bed Sores, for a number of reasons such as:
||- Continence issues
|- Poor circulation
||- Previous tissue damage
People with certain skin types and those with particular underlying medical conditions are also vulnerable. The presence of pressure ulcers has been associated with an increased risk of secondary infection and a two to four-fold increase in the risk of death in older people in intensive care units.4
Understanding the environment and your patient
Many clinicians now use a SKIN or CARE Bundle which is a useful tool in preventing pressure ulcers. This typically includes observation and action elements that are designed to monitor and prevent pressure ulcer formation
The SKIN Bundle
S - Support Surface
A high quality and properly maintained pressure reducing foam mattress is clinically proven to positively contribute to pressure ulcer prevention. If a patient sits out of bed, a pressure reducing cushion should also be used to assist in the prevention of damage to the buttocks.
K - Keep moving
Lying or sitting in one position for long periods of time can cause the skin to become damaged and eventually die due to lack of blood flow. Patients should be repositioned regularly and/or encouraged to re-position themselves.
I - Incontinence
Management of continence and keeping patients clean and dry is essential in preventing skin damage. Prolonged wetness to the skin (maceration) increases the risk of damage that can be caused by shearing. A skin inspection should include assessment of continence.
N - Nutrition and Hydration
The skin, as the largest organ in the body, must be kept will hydrated. Patients should be encouraged or assisted to drink two litres of fluid per day. Good nutrition provides essential nutrients which in turn keeps the skin healthy. An underweight bony patient will be at greater risk of developing pressure ulcers. Similarly an obese patient will be at greater risk, due to immobility, and increased pressure caused by body weight.
Pressure Ulcer Classification
There are a number of methods for classifying the severity of a pressure ulcer.
Invacare has developed a Pressure Ulcer Classification poster based on the EPUAP research, which is available for you to download. If you require hard copies, please complete the Contact form.
There are a selection of free educational resources available for you to download, just click here.