A pressure injury, also referred to as a pressure ulcer or bed sore, is an area of damaged skin or underlying tissue that develops when constant pressure on a part of the body shuts down the blood vessels feeding that area.
Pressure injuries usually develop on bony prominences and on anyone who sits or lies down for prolonged periods of time. Shearing from slipping or sliding down the bed/chair can contribute to pressure injuries.
How can you help avoid pressure injuries?
- Change your position regularly, every few hours and check your skin for any redness or broken areas and report immediately to the nursing/medical staff.
- If you are able have short walks up and down the ward to increase your blood flow to your skin and increase tone in your muscles.
- If you wear Compression/Thromboembolism-deterrent stockings, do not allow them to roll down as this can cause pressure and skin damage.
- If you have problems with continence please speak to a member of the nursing team for advice on skin care.
- Try to have a minimum of 8-10 cups of fluid daily unless on a restriction as advised by your doctor.
- Eat a well-balanced diet to give your skin the right nutrients for repair and growth. If you are finding it difficult to eat and drink properly, talk to your nurse who will refer you to a dietician.
What are the symptoms of a pressure injury?
A Pressure injury may initially appear as a red area of skin that does not disappear when pressed gently. Look for changes in skin condition including pain or tenderness, heat and swelling. The area may become painful and purple in colour. Continued pressure and poor circulation can cause the skin and tissue to break down. Please inform your health care provider if you experience any of these symptoms.