Take the pressure off—a guide for caring for a pressure ulcer

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What you can do if you spot a sore


Definition—pressure ulcer—is also called a bed sore—what is it?


A pressure ulcer is defined as—a wound to the skin resulting from a body part that touches another surface (like a bed or chair) for long periods of time. When too much pressure builds up from sitting in one position, it may eventually cut off blood supply to that area of skin and tissue. Bed sores are more common in people confined to their bed or with mobility issues 1.

While you should always follow the specific recommendations of your healthcare provider the Association for the Advancement of Wound care (AAWC) provides a Patient Guide for Preventing and Treating Pressure Ulcers, which is detailed in part below. 1

  1. Always communicate with your healthcare provider and let them know you spot a bed sore. They will advise you on proper use of bandages and dressings.
  2. When sitting for long periods—change position three times per hour. And change positions frequently when confined to a bed if it can be done safely and comfortably.
  3. Avoid massaging or rubbing wounds, especially if it feels painful or appears red.
  4. Be careful not to drag the affected area across the bed.
  5. Release pressure from boney areas by using special cushions or wound dressings. Ask your healthcare provider for suggestions.
  6. A balanced diet helps promote healing. Ask your physician or nurse if you’re getting enough protein.
  7. Stay hydrated—fluids help support the healing process. Ask your healthcare provider if you are getting enough fluids.
  8. 8.Monitor the skin daily.
  9. 9.Keep wounds dry and clean.
  10. Stand up or move around – movement increases blood flow which delivers vital nutrients and oxygen to muscles and tissue.
  11. Click here to see and download the full AAWC Patient Guide for Preventing and Treating Pressure Ulcers.

Reference: 1. http://aawconline.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Take-the-Pressure-Off.pdf Take the Pressure Off, Patient Guide