As part of your treatment plan, your care team will discuss with you the best way to prevent pressure ulcers. This will be based on your individual circumstances.
However, you may find that the general advice outlined below is helpful.
Making regular and frequent changes to your position is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure ulcers. If a pressure ulcer has already developed, regularly changing position will help to avoid putting further pressure on it, and give the wound the best chance of healing.
As a general rule, wheelchair users will need to change their position at least once every 15 to 30 minutes. People who are confined to bed will need to change their position at least once every two hours.
Once you have developed a pressure ulcer, it's important that you minimise or avoid putting any further pressure on it to give the wound the best chance of healing.
If you are unable to change position yourself, a carer or relative will need to assist you. For more information and advice about positional changes, read about treating pressure ulcers .
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that contains an adequate amount of protein and a good variety of vitamins and minerals can help prevent skin damage and speed up the healing process. You may be referred to a dietitian so that a dietary plan can be drawn up for you.
If you currently have a reduced appetite due to a pre-existing health condition, the following advice may be useful:
This is particularly important if you have an underlying condition, such as nerve damage or diabetes, which may dampen or numb feelings of pain in certain parts of your body.
You can use a mirror to check the parts of your body that are difficult to see, such as your bottom and the heels of your feet. If you notice any damage, report it to your care team. If you are at home, contact your GP or community nurse. If you are in hospital or a nursing home, inform one of your nurses or carers.
If you are a smoker, giving up is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure ulcers. Smoking reduces the levels of oxygen in your blood. It also weakens your immune system, which increases your risk of developing pressure ulcers.
Read about quitting smoking for further information and advice about giving up smoking.
Pressure ulcers, sometimes known as bedsores or pressure sores, are an injury that affects areas of the skin and underlying tissue.
Depending on the severity of a pressure ulcer, symptoms can include red or discoloured skin, itchy skin, blisters or an open wound.
Pressure ulcers are caused by sustained pressure being placed on a particular part of the body. This pressure interrupts the blood supply to the affected area of skin.
Pressure ulcers are easily diagnosed by looking at them. However, health professionals prefer to prevent ulcers developing in the first place, so it's important to assess a person's risk of developing them.
Treatment options for pressure ulcers include regularly changing position, special mattresses and dressings, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Even with the best possible medical care, complications can arise from grade three or grade four pressure ulcers and can be occasionally life-threatening.
As part of your treatment plan, your care team will discuss with you the best way to prevent pressure ulcers. This may include changing position, checking your skin and a healthy diet.