Saturday, 28 March 2015

Pressure Ulcers

Information written on this site does not substitute for professional medical advice. Seek advice from a GP, community healthcare professional or similar if you are unsure if "it" needs medical attention.


Also called bed sores, pressure areas.

Pressure ulcers can, unfortunately, be a common incidence all around the world. It has a high rate of occurrence when someone has been bed-bound for a prolonged period of time, sometimes even with the highest amount of care given. Pressure ulcers can form on any area of skin in people of all ages but older persons are more vulnerable because of their reduced mobility and their aged skin. In addition to this, constant moist skin (from faecal or urinary incontinence for example) or friction to a particular area increases the risk for a pressure sore to occur because the skin integrity has become impaired.

How does it happen? Nutrients from the blood are supplied to the skin to keep it alive. When pressure is placed on the skin, the amount of blood being supplied to the area is reduced - causing a white-yellow patch to form before returning to your normal skin tone. This is similar to capillary refill on your nails. Pressure areas are, effectively, skin that has died because of lack of blood circulation to the area. Pressure ulcers can form in a short amount of time with more weight or a long amount of time with little pressure.

Pressure ulcers usually occur in areas of skin that cover a bony prominence. Common areas for pressure areas while laying on your back are: back of the head, shoulder blades, buttocks, heels and elbows. Other areas are effected depends on what position that person is in.

Common locations of Pressure Ulcers
Retrieved from Adam Smith, MD.
Pressure areas are classed into stages depending on how far deep the damage is. Below is a table showing the different stages.

In hospitals, a patient should have a pressure area risk form filled out (among others!) when they are admitted to the ward. This allows the health care staff to assess and monitor pressure areas at the time of admission as well as note the risk of a pressure area forming. Some wards have access to air mattresses which inflate different areas of the bed so the area of skin in contact with pressure is rotated. Other wards will turn patients on their sides regularly.

Regular skin inspections and early detection of pressure areas will assist in the worsening of a pressure ulcer. If you wish to assist in showering your loved one and a nurse asks to call them immediately after you wash them, it's not because they doubt your washing skills; it's because they want to assess your loved one's skin condition and take note of bruising, skin tears or redness which could indicate a stage 1 pressure area.

Last updated 28/03/2015 by A.

1 comment:

  1. enjoyed reading about this i hope you dont mind but i have taken the image that you have used to show my work, and also use ina researh project