Tissue Viability Team
A Healthcare professional has given you this information as you or somebody you know might be at risk from developing pressure ulcers or have a pressure ulcer already. It includes information for patients and carers about pressure ulcers
and how you can help to prevent them.
STOP PRESSURE ULCERS – REACT TO RED SKIN
- A pressure ulcer is also known as a pressure sore or bed sore.
- They are areas of damaged skin or tissue that develop when there is constant or repeated pressure to your skin and tissue underneath.
- The skin may change colour or be broken, wounds may be shallow or small but can quickly become larger or more deep if pressure is not relieved.
- Pressure ulcers tend to happen over your bony areas but can occur under medical devices or if clothing or bedding is ill fitting or rucked up.
What are the SIGNS and SYMPTOMS?
- A pressure ulcer may initially appear as an area of red skin that does not disappear when you press it. It may also feel tender, hotter or cooler than surrounding skin.
- For people with darker pigmented skin look for purple/bluish colour changes. It may also feel tender, hotter or cooler than surrounding skin.
- Continued pressure on this area can cause the skin to break down.
I have developed a pressure ulcer – what can I do?
- Treatment is much more difficult than prevention. Treatment will include relieving pressure and keeping the area clean. It is likely to involve regular nurse visits and lengthy treatments. Seek help as soon as possible from your doctor or nurse.
- Follow the prevention advice in this leaflet.
- Together, you and your healthcare supporter will develop a plan of care to reduce the pressure on your skin.
For example you may require:
Specialist equipment such as a mattress & cushion
Further advice and help to change position regularly
Help eating a healthy diet and drinking enough fluid
Advice on keeping your skin healthy and dry
Pain relief if the pressure ulcer is uncomfortable
Regular wound dressing to help heal the ulcer
Checking your skin!
- If you notice any of the above signs immediate action is needed to stop an ulcer developing.
- Regularly check or get someone to look at your skin for changes especially over bony areas.
- Alter your position immediately – the skin may return to normal but if it doesn’t, tell somebody i.e. healthcare professional, carer, family or friend.
- Moving around and changing your position as much as possible will help reduce the risk of you developing a pressure ulcer.
- If you are in bed try changing your position, regularly alternate between your back and sides. Elevate your heels from the mattress to prevent them getting damaged.
- If you are sat in a chair try to take your weight off your bottom every half an hour by leaning to one side or pushing up on the arms of your chair. You should not sit in your chair for more than two hours at a time, even with a specialised cushion. Sometimes your healthcare professional may advise you to have bed rest to help relieve the pressure.
- Keeping moving maybe difficult – if you are struggling it is important that you let somebody know i.e. healthcare professional, carer, family or friend.
- Keeping your skin clean and dry is important as skin that is wet for a period of time with urine/faeces or sweat is more fragile and at risk of damage. Ensure you change any incontinence products regularly and use a barrier cream if required.
- Regularly moisturise any dry skin including your heels.
Eating well and staying hydrated
- Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and drink plenty of fluids.
- Protein rich snacks can help repair your skin.
- We may refer you to a dietician and, or provide supplements.
Advice provided by your healthcare professional
How often should I move?
|In Bed:||In Chair:|
What equipment is recommended?
|Skin cleanser or barrier products:|
|Heel offloading advice or equipment:|
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.
To ensure we meet your communication needs please inform the Patient Experience Department of any special requirements, for example; braille or large print.
T: 01642 835964
E: [email protected]