According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel meeting of 2016, “a pressure injury occurs when there is localized skin and soft tissue damage, usually over a bony prominence or from another device such as a shoe or bed.” The injury can present as intact skin or an open ulcer and may or may not be painful. The injury occurs as the result of continued pressure or shear forces, or a combination of the two. The tolerance of the tissue to shear and pressure may also be affected by nutrition, perfusion, co-morbidities and the condition of the tissue itself.
Tips to prevent ulceration and skin injury include:
- Inspect skin daily for changes and signs of redness, swelling, pain that may indicate infection or breakdown.
- Avoid pressure points on the body of the heels, ankles, buttocks, elbows and bony areas.
- Change position in bed at least 3 times per hour.
- Keep the skin clean, dry and healthy.
- Use cream or lotion to protect dry skin under the direction of a healthcare provider.
- Eat a balanced healthy diet and drink adequate fluids.
- Do not massage warm or red tender areas.
- Notify your healthcare provider without delay if you notice red, tender areas, open wounds, ulcerations or skin changes.
- Use pressure off-loading devices for heels.
- Use pressure redistribution devices for chairs and beds to prevent ulcerations.