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How Do Pressure Ulcers Form?

How Do Pressure Ulcers Form?

Pressure ulcers, also called decubitus ulcers, pressure sores or bed sores, are a big problem in hospitals, nursing homes and patient homes. Pressure ulcers are areas where the skin has broken down. They can go very deep to the bone. Pressure ulcers can cause pain and very serious infections that can lead to death.

Pressure ulcers make a hospital stay longer than it should be. They raise the costs of patient care. Most pressure ulcers result from the lack of mobility. Patients and residents who stay in the bed or a chair are at high risk for pressure ulcers. Nursing assistants and other healthcare workers can prevent them. We must prevent pressure ulcers with proper skin care, by looking at the patient and their skin, by giving our patients a good diet and a lot of fluids, by helping them walk, and by turning and positioning them often. Pressure ulcers form and get worse unless they are prevented with very good nursing care.

A warning sign of a pressure ulcer is when pink skin on a bony area turns white. This white color happens because the red colored blood to the skin area has been cut off with pressure. Skin can NOT stay pink when blood is not going to an area.

Later, the skin will then become red and irritated if this pressure remains and the patient is not turned. The skin may now feel very warm and the patient may tell you that they feel burning in the area. If the pressure ulcer process continues, the top layers of the skin will break away. It will become an open sore if the pressure is not stopped and the area is treated. It will get worse and worse until all the skin layers are broken down and the bone, muscle or joint is seen. The worst pressure ulcers are those that affect the bones themselves.

Alternating pressure mattress / low air loss mattress for prevention / treatment of pressure sores.

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