Pressure Sores: Frequently Asked Questions

What are pressure sores?
A pressure sore is a part of skin that becomes red and damaged over time due to constant pressure on that part of the body.

What causes pressure sores?
Pressure – Body weight pressing on the skin or friction from skin on skin rubbing as well as clothing.

What are the signs of a pressure sore?
Redness of the skin which progresses into an open wound.

Where do pressure sores occur?
Anywhere that bone is close to the skin, like the back,buttocks,heels and elbows.

Who gets pressure sores?
Usually the elderly or disabled, however anyone with a period of inactivity could develop them.

Who is at risk of getting pressure sores?
People that are inactive or disabled are most at risk. This inactivity could be for a myriad of reasons.

Are pressure sores easy to treat?
If identified early, yes they are. However as time goes on and the damage progresses they can take longer to heal and can even become life threatening.

How quickly do pressure sores develop?
In some cases, it can take as little as an hour for them to start, however this depends on the amount of pressure and the health of the patients skin.

What is the best care for the patient?
Regular movement, even if the patient can’t move, a nurse should frequently adjust the patients position.

How long do pressure sores take to heal?
This depends on the health of the patient and how infected they are. If caught early, the recovery time is much less.

How can pressure sores be prevented?
Quite simply, regular movement of all areas of the body:

● Suitable sitting and lying positions
● Offloading weight to vulnerable areas
● Monitoring hydration and nutrition

How to treat a pressure sore?
If you have a pressure sore, you need to change your sitting or laid position regularly, or be repositioned by a nurse regularly.

What preventive measures do hospitals and nursing homes have in place?
Nursing homes and hospitals usually have procedures for identifying and preventing pressure sores from occurring. Consistently regular posture adjustment is needed.

What can help reduce the pressure?
Switching sides regularly is a good idea, but there are also cushions available to help ease pressure on joints and areas of the skin.

Does drinking water help?
Undoubtedly. Your skin relies on hydration to be at its best, so drinking plenty of water is essential to the prevention and treatment of pressure sores.

Are there any supplements I can take to reduce the risk of pressure sores?
In studies, people with higher intakes of Vitamin C have a lower occurrence of pressure sores in bed-ridden patients than those with lower intakes.

What are the stages of pressure sores?
There are four main stages of progression for bed sores:
1 – Reddened skin which remains for more than 30 minutes after pressure has been relieved.
2 – Superficial skin damage or blister.
3 – Full thickness skin loss not extending to bone or muscle.
4 – Full thickness skin loss with extensive tissue damage through muscle and bone.

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