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Care of Pressure Ulcer (Bed Sore) by Risk Factors

Risk Factor Preventive Actions

Bed or Chair Confinement
  •  Inspect skin at least once a day.
  •  Bathe when needed for comfort or cleanliness.
  • Prevent dry skin.
  • For a person in bed:
    1. Change position at least every 2 hours.
    2. Use a special mattress that contains foam, air, gel, or water.
    3. Raise the head of bed as little and for as short a time as possible.
  • For a person in a chair:
    1. Change position every hour.
    2. Use foam, gel, or air cushion to relieve pressure.
  • Reduce friction by:
    1. Lifting rather than dragging when repositioning.
    2. Using corn starch on skin.
  • Avoid use of donut-shape cushions.
  • Participate in a rehabilitation program.
Inability to Move
  • Persons confined to chairs should be repositioned every hour if unable to do so themselves.
  • For a person in a chair who is able to shift his or her own weight, change position at least every 15 minutes.
  • Use pillows or wedges to keep knees or ankles from touching each other.
  • When in bed, place pillow under legs from midcalf to ankle to keep heels off the bed.
Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control
  • Clean skin as soon as soiled.
  • Assess and treat urine leaks.
  • If moisture cannot be controlled:
    1. Use absorbent pads and/or briefs with a quick-drying surface.
    2. Protect skin with a cream or ointment.
Poor Nutrition
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • If a normal diet is not possible, talk to health care provider about nutritional supplements.
Lowered Mental Awareness Choose preventive actions that apply to the person with lowered mental awareness. For example, if the person is chairbound, refer to the specific preventive actions outlined in Risk Factor 1.

Beside all above preventative actions, depending on the situation of the patient, a pressure relief tool (such as a foam mattress, an alternating pressure pad, alternating pressure mattress / low air loss or a seat cushion) can be used for pressure ulcer prevention. Please consult with your physician or physical therapist for recommendation of an appropriate tool.

Information provided by National Library of Medicine (NLM).

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