What is Pressure Sore?
Pressure sore is also known as pressure ulcer or bedsores. These are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue, primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. Commonly found in bony parts of the body such as hips, elbows, ankles and back or buttocks.
Pressure sore can happen to anyone, but usually affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time.
Why Pressure Sore occurs?
The skin and soft tissues becomes damaged due to compression against hard bone tissue. As a result, insufficient oxygenated blood to the area to promote healing.
Who is at risk for Pressure Sore?
- Patients who cannot move very well because of medical problem. They may sit or lay in one position for a long time.
- Older people are more prone to pressure sores because they often don’t move around as much and their skin is more fragile and thinner than a younger person.
- Patients who have diabetes or nerve problems in their feet. They may not feel pain or when pressure pushes on the foot causing injury.
- Patients in hospital or nursing home are at especially high risk. This is due to increased age, decreased mobility, and other complicated medical problems.
How to prevent Pressure Sore?
There are some steps we can do to lower the chances of getting pressure sores.
- Re-positioning patient’s body every two hours or regularly. This will prevent them from lying on one area for a long time where pressure is building.
- Placing pillows between the ankles and knees help to decrease the pressure on the skin over bony area.
- Raising the head of the bed when the patient is lying on their side to decrease the pressure on the hip bone.
- Special foam or soft mattresses help to decrease the pressure on the areas of the body that have the most pressure on them.
If the patient is on wheelchair, here is what you can do for prevention:
- Use a special cushioned seat if possible to prevent pressure on the sacrum.
- Every hour tilt forward or to the side to release pressure on the seat.
- Use foam padding to protect against sores if ankles or heels press on the chair.
- Check skin regularly for signs of pressure.
Wound care tips!
Here are the important things you need to know about wound care for pressure sore.
- If there is mild erythema or redness, generally off-loading the area by body re-positioning, and using pillows to cushion the area.
- In diabetic patients, it is important to control blood sugars as high blood sugars impede wound healing.
- Dead or dying skin or soft tissues often needs to be removed to help prevent infection.
- Special bandages may be needed to keep the healing tissue moist but prevent tissue maceration (from being too moist).
- Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is a wound infection.
- Medication for pain may also be prescribed.
- Optimize the nutritional status of patients with wounds.
Sometimes, it may not be as simple as it sounds. Most importantly, proper wound care requires accurate and thorough wound assessment. These will provide information about wound status which will aid the development of a plan that supports healing. Individualized and expert care is needed in order to ensure you reach optimal healing and positive outcomes.
Written by: Dr. Shashini Asokumaran