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Bed and pressure sores

Keep on moving

Pressure sores, sometimes known as bedsores or pressure ulcers, are painful sores which occur when then blood supply to parts of the body is interrupted and skin and underlying tissue becomes damaged. In very serious cases, the underlying muscle and bone can also be damaged. People who are unable to move some or all of their body due to illness, paralysis or advanced age can develop pressure sores. If you have Diabetes you may be more prone to bedsores.

Pressure sores can quickly develop, sometimes over the course of a few hours.

If you notice any possible signs of damage such as areas of discolouration and patches of skin that feel unusually spongy, or tough to the touch, you should contact your GP.

Making regular and frequent changes to your position is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure sores. If you are unable to change position yourself, a carer, or relative will be needed to assist you.

Preventing pressure ulcers

  1. Make regular and frequent changes to your position (at least once every 2 hours). If a pressure ulcer has already developed, regularly changing position will help to avoid putting further pressure on it. 
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that contains the right amount of protein, a good variety of vitamins and minerals, which can help prevent skin damage and speed up the healing process. You may be referred to a Dietician so that a diet plan can be drawn up for you.
  3. If you have known risk factors for pressure ulcers, it is important that you check your skin daily for any signs of pressure ulcers, such as discoloured areas. This is really important if you have an underlying condition, such as nerve damage or Diabetes. Use a mirror to check the parts of your body that are difficult to see. If you notice any damage, report it to your care team or GP.
  4. If you are a smoker, giving up is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure ulcers. Smoking reduces the levels of oxygen in your blood and weakens your immune system.

Nurse says

Seek medical advice if more than three of these conditions apply:

  • You are over 70.
  • You can't move easily.
  • Your skin is fry, sweaty or red.
  • You are under or overweight.
  • You are eating well but have lost weight.
  • You have had a recent blood test.
  • You are diabetic.
  • You use a wheelchair.
  • You are bedridden.
  • You have another health condition such as dementia or chest problems.
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