Tips ON PRESSURE ULCER PREVENTION
This article is about helping your loved ones, by making sure they are well taken care off and at their best health status. Knowing how to check for a pressure ulcer is very important if you have a frail elderly person at your home.
WHAT IS A PRESSURE ULCER AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PREVENT IT?
A pressure ulcer is an area of the skin that breaks down when something keeps rubbing against the skin. Pressure ulcers are painful and cause discomfort, have a negative effect on quality of life and are costly to treat.
WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GET IT?
People who :
- Use a wheelchair
- Cannot move certain parts of their body without help
- Have a disease that affects blood flow, including diabetes or vascular disease
- Have Alzheimer disease or any other condition that affects your their mental state
- Have fragile skin
- Have no control over their bladder
- Don't get enough nutrition.
SYMPTOMS OF A DEVELOPING PRESSURE ULCER
STAGE 1 - A reddened, painful area on the skin that does not turn white when pressed. This is a sign that an pressure ulcer is forming.
STAGE 2 - The skin blisters or forms an open sore. The area around the sore may be red and irritated.
STAGE 3 - The skin develops an open, sunken hole called a crater.The tissue below the skin is damaged. You may be able to see body fat in the crater.
STAGE 4 - The pressure ulcer has become so deed that there is damage to the muscle and bone, and sometimes tendons and joints.
AREAS LIKELY TO HAVE PRESSURE ULCER
- Back of head
TAKING CARE OF A PRESSURE ULCER AT HOME AND USING THE SSKIN TOOL TO ASSESS IT
Relieving pressure on the area is very important, you can do that by using special pillows, foam cushions and mattress pads. What type of cushion you use will depend on the wound. Talk to your doctor about which would be best for you.
Changing positions often is a good way of also relieving the affected area. If you are in a wheelchair you should change positions every 15 minutes, and if in bed your position should be changed every 2 hours.
S - Surface
If the equipment is made of foam, check if the cover is still intact. And if the foam is flat and smooth.
S - Skin Inspection
Check: if the skin is not discolored, broken or painful. If pressure ulcer is dry and intact
K - Keep Moving
Position should be changed as per care plan, even if the person is independent or fully mobile.
I - Incontinence
Skin should be washed and dried daily, and when visibly soiled. Also barrier preparation should be applied.
N - Nutrition and Hydration
Drinks, food and supplements (if prescribed) must be taken as per diet plan.