Pressure Sores

Pressure sores can occur when the cells in the skin and tissues become damaged by insufficient blood supply. This usually happens when a person has been in one position for a long time. They can also be caused by friction or shearing, for example sliding down in bed. Pressure sores can lead to pain and infection, but fortunately they can often be prevented.

If you are able to get up briefly sometimes (e.g. to walk to the toilet), this will help to prevent sores. Otherwise, try to change position every hour or two, perhaps using pillows to redistribute the weight away from bony areas. If sitting in a chair, rock from one buttock to the other for a short time. A pressure-relieving mattress, mattress overlay or a special cushion can be useful to distribute your weight more evenly and may also be more comfortable. When moving try to avoid dragging your skin across the bed or chair. If this is unavoidable, consider different techniques such as using a transfer board or hoist.

Watch out for feelings of numbness or a reddening or darkening of the skin (especially if it stays red when pressed). If this happens, take the weight off that area to give it time to recover.

Crumpled sheets and crumbs can cause problems, so it's good to have the bed re-made. Keeping clean is also helpful, if you're well enough, especially if you have incontinence or are sweaty. A healthy diet and plenty to drink with enough rest and sleep are all recommended.

If you think you may have a pressure sore, contact your doctor or district nurse.

Bed : Clothes : Drinking : Eating : Resting : Sitting : Sleep : Washing