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The importance of pressure care

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When a patient has limited mobility, pressure sores are more likely to occur as a result of the lack of movement and limited circulation. A pressure sore can require several weeks to heal. Identifying the early signs of these kinds of skin problems are key to prevent them.

The skin of patients with limited mobility can’t tolerate pressure for an extended period of time without the circulation system being impacted. This disruption in circulation results in a pressure sore.

Prolonged pressure

If you remain in the same position for too long, this could lead to skin damage. Other daily causes of pressure sores can be anything from clothing that restricts circulation, braces, or hard objects that put pressure on your skin. The first warning sign I reddened skin. Once the pressure is removed and the redness fades within 15 minutes, no lasting damage has occurred.

Pressure sores often start on places where bones are close to the skin surface, as that results in pressure from within. If there is pressure from a firm surface on the outside of the skin, circulation is compromised, limiting the amount of oxygen delivered to the skin. This could result in swelling that adds even more pressure to the blood vessels near the skin’s surface.

Sitting or lying on hard objects such as buttons on couches and mattresses, and catheter connectors and clamps can also cause pressure sores.

Factors increasing the chance of developing pressure sores

In addition to the above-mentioned causes, there are additional factors that could increase the chances of a patient developing pressure sores. This includes wet skin from sweat or urine, fever, friction against the skin, as well as clothing, braces, and splints that are too tight.

The development of a pressure sore

Pressure sores start as a red area on the skin, occasionally accompanied by the area feeling hard and/or hot. At this stage, if pressure is removed from the area, damage is reversable.

If the pressure continues a blister or scab may form over the hard read area of the skin, which indicates that the tissue beneath it is dying. Pressure should be removed, and a physician consulted.

The next stage in the development of a pressure sore is the formation of a hole or ulcer in the dead tissue. Damaged tissue may extend deep below the surface, sometimes all the way to the bone. If left untreated the infection will reach the underlying bone, cause extensive damage.

Relieving skin pressure

If a patient with limited mobility is bed ridden, create a turning schedule of between two to five hours to alleviate the pressure. The time between turns can gradually be increased under close supervision.

Padding such as firm pillows and small foam pads can also relieve the pressure on the patient’s body. However, do not substitute folded towels or blankets for foam padding or pillows as they can be too firm.

The position in of the padding will be determined on the position of the patient, whether side, prone (on their stomach) or supine (on their back).

For patients in wheelchairs, weight shifts are essential techniques to prevent pressure on the skin and muscle of the sacrum (tailbone) and hips. Therapists need to work closely with their patients to determine ethe most effective method and how to determine their skin tolerance.

Cushions for wheelchair patients are crucial to provide relief and weight distribution. Again, the therapist needs to counsel the patient on the options available and support them in finding a suitable cushion. Weight shifts are still necessary as a cushion alone will not prevent pressure sores.

Pressure care products

Medop CC’s pressure care products provide consistent and unrivalled support and comfort for patients and cover a range of uses and needs. Our pressure care products include ICU mattresses, back support cushions, gel cushions, light contour cushions, and fixed mount hardware for backs support in chairs.

Pressure care specialists

Medop CC prides itself on the quality and affordability of its specialised personal care products, including pressure care products that ensure heightened comfort for patients. To find out more about our products for pressure care, get in touch with one of our specialists today.

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