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Pressure ulcers are areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They are also known as pressure sores or bed sores.
Pressure ulcers may cause pain or lead to an extended hospital stay. They can become infected, leading to blood poisoning or bone infection and in extreme cases can become life-threatening.
Pressure ulcers are caused by a combination of:
Common body sites for pressure ulcers are normally over bone prominence:
There are things we need to know to help prevent pressure ulcers from developing.
All the above increase the risk of developing a pressure ulcer and may move you from being ‘at risk’ through a ‘very high risk’.
Nutrition and hydration
Adequate nutrition and fluids are essential to prevent pressure ulcers. Please ask for advice if you are concerned.
Regular skin inspections – your skin should be observed for:
Report any of these signs to the healthcare team looking after you.
Regular repositioning – If you can, change your position frequently.
Use of equipment
A mattress or cushion may be provided that will help reduce the amount of pressure on your body. Please notify nursing staff if the equipment provided is not working or is uncomfortable. Water-filled gloves, synthetic and genuine sheepskins, and doughnut type devices should not be used. Equipment used for moving or lifting should not be left underneath you.
Inform nursing staff if you use any pressure reducing/relieving equipment in your usual care setting.
Example of the early stage of pressure ulcer development:
The Trust is committed to reduce the number of pressure injuries that develop whilst people are in our care. However, unfortunately due to the nature and severity of illness, pressure ulcers may still occur in a small number of people. If this happens appropriate preventive care will be provided and a wound dressing plan will be devised and implemented.
An investigation may also be cared out by the trust wound care specialist. You may require specialist equipment and input from community nurses on discharge.
If you need more information on pressure ulcer prevention and treatment, please ask the nursing staff on the ward and/or request a visit from the Tissue Viability Team.
This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.