Pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores), can be incredibly painful and debilitating. They are not only a cause of discomfort for patients, but they can also lead to serious complications if not managed properly. That's why it's crucial to implement effective strategies for their prevention. In this article, we will explore how specialist seating can assist with pressure ulcer management in order to expedite the healing process and prevent them from occurring in the first place.
What is a Pressure Sore/Ulcer
Pressure ulcers/sores are localized injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that occur due to prolonged pressure on the affected area. They commonly develop in individuals who are bedridden, wheelchair-bound, or immobile for extended periods. Pressure ulcers usually form over bony prominences, such as the hips, heels, elbows, and sacrum.
The severity of pressure ulcers can vary, ranging from mild redness and inflammation to deep wounds that extend into the underlying tissue, muscle and bone. Early detection and prompt management are crucial to prevent the progression of pressure ulcers and ensure faster healing.
Pressure ulcers can be categorized into four stages:
Stage 1: the skin is intact but may appear red, discoloured, or warm to the touch.
Stage 2: involves partial-thickening, skin loss or the formation of a shallow open wound.
Stage 3: involves thickening, skin loss, reaching the underlying tissue.
Stage 4: there is extensive tissue damage, including damage to muscle and bone
How to Prevent Pressure Ulcers/Sores
Prevention is key when it comes to pressure ulcers. Whilst effective management strategies are essential for existing ulcers, preventing new ulcers from developing is of equal importance. Prevention strategies focus on reducing or eliminating pressure on vulnerable areas. Here are some effective prevention strategies:
1. Regular repositioning: Encourage patients to change their position at least every two hours. This helps relieve pressure on specific areas and promotes blood flow. This can be achieved manually by carers or automatically using air cushions and mattress systems. Read more about them here:
2. Pressure-relieving devices: Utilize specialized mattresses, cushions, and care chairs that distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of developing pressure ulcers. Our large range of Comfy Care Chairs have built in pressure relief as standard. If higher levels of pressure relief are needed, additional accessories can be added.
Pressure Relieving Equipment
Pressure relieving equipment plays a crucial role in preventing and managing pressure ulcers. These devices help distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of developing new ulcers. Here are some commonly used pressure relieving devices and techniques:
1. Specialized mattresses: Utilize pressure-reducing mattresses, such as foam mattresses, air mattresses, or alternating pressure mattresses. These mattresses distribute pressure evenly and reduce the risk of developing pressure ulcers.
2. Cushions and overlays: Use specialized cushions and overlays on chairs, wheelchairs, and other seating surfaces. These cushions help distribute pressure and reduce the risk of pressure ulcers. Air cushion systems are also available to help eliviate long periods of pressure on specific areas.
3. Regular repositioning: Encourage patients to change their position at least every two hours. Repositioning helps relieve pressure on specific areas and promotes blood flow. Caregivers should assist patients who are unable to reposition themselves, or a tilting system should be implemented to assist carers with this process.
4. Heel and elbow protectors: Utilize soft, protective devices around vulnerable areas, such as the heels and elbows. These protectors provide cushioning and reduce pressure on these areas. Our range of Askle positioning cushions assist with postural support and pressure relief.
By incorporating these pressure relieving devices and techniques into the care plan, healthcare providers can significantly reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and promote faster healing for existing ulcers.