Caring for Pressure Ulcers

Preventing and Treating Pressure Ulcers

What is a pressure ulcers?

iStock-1023589096Commonly referred to as a bed sore, pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and to deeper layers, usually caused when the skin is under pressure. This can happen when skin is "pressed" between a bone inside the body and an outside surface such as a bed or chair. If the pressure is prolonged it harms the skin. The pressure cuts off the blood supply, which harms the cells. 

A pressure ulcer often begins as a tender, warm spot that doesn't go away away, and can become quite painful. This usually occurs on skin areas one sites or lies on, or on the heels. They can become infected, and present a serious problem. They often occur when a person is ill or unable to move. 


How to prevent pressure ulcers?

  • Change position often in bed and at least three times each hour when sitting.
  • Avoid sliding or dragging in and out of the the chair or bed. Ask your health care provider about special cushions and beds. 
  • Keep the skin clean, dry, and healthy.
  • Use barrier ointment to protect skin from urine and other body waste. 
  • Inspect and protect fragile skin every day
  • Keep moving. Shift your weight, walk, sit up and stand up. Move as much as you safely can.

Caring for an ulcer 

  • Do not massage or rub any red, warm, or tender areas
  • Keep the skin clean, dry and healthy
  • Inspect and protect fragile skin every day
  • Report any problems or changes to your health care team as soon as possible.