Pressure ulcers can develop rapidly given the right conditions.
There are over 100 risk factors for developing pressure ulcers, so not all of them can be controlled. However, the key risk factors should be taken into account as part of a pressure ulcer prevention strategy.
Read more about the risk factors for pressure ulcer development.
Creating a Plan
A healthcare professional must do a routine assessment on anyone at high risk of pressure ulcer development.
This assessment will form the basis of a care plan that reduces the risk of pressure ulcer development. These plans may include positional changes, supportive nutrition, a skin care routine and pressure-reliving equipment.
Anyone confined to a bed or chair for a prolonged period should have their risk of pressure ulcer development assessed.
Regular movement helps redistribute pressure. In fact, people at full health naturally change position regularly without even thinking about it due to feedback from the skin.
People who cannot do this repositioning themselves need assistance to do so.
This repositioning should be throughout the day and night, and the frequency should be set by a healthcare professional.
Some positioning aids can be helpful for managing repositioning and supporting people in necessary positions.
Healthy skin can withstand pressure and friction/shear forces more easily than damaged skin.
Skin health can be supported with barrier creams, a good diet and maintained personal hygiene.
It is also important to regularly check the skin for signs of discolouration that could be an early sign of pressure injury.
For more information on the early signs of pressure injury, click here.
Pressure-reliving equipment works to redistribute pressure away from vulnerable parts of the body.
Vulnerable areas are usually the most bony areas, or areas which are under higher pressure due to seating or lying position.
These can be:
- Active – Mattresses/cushions are filled with air cells which inflate and deflate to move pressure onto different parts of the body in turn.
- Static – Viscoelastic (memory-foam style) mattresses/cushions which mould to the shape of the body to spread out pressure much more evenly.
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