Pressure ulcerations affect over 2.5 million people annually in the United States and often occur in those of advancing age and decreased mobility. They occur as a result of continued pressure and shearing over boney prominent areas such as the heels, ankles, hips and buttocks. They are further complicated by those with poor nutritional status from low protein and poor blood flow.
Early detection and prevention are keys to avoiding this serious condition.
Tips to prevent pressure ulceration and skin injury include:
- Keep the skin clean and dry with non-alkaline cleansers
- Clean areas of incontinence promptly
- Inspect the skin daily for changes and signs of redness, swelling and pain that may indicate infection and breakdown. Seek medical consultation immediately if this is observed
- Change position every 2 hours whether seated or in bed. While in bed, utilize a 30-degree side-laying position, supporting legs and body parts with pillows
- If in bed, lay with the head flat to avoid excess pressure on the buttocks
- Use creams and lotions as directed by your provider to keep the skin healthy
- Talk to your provider about the best mattress type to avoid excess pressure
- Learn about pressure off-loading devices for the heels to prevent ulcerations
- Use prophylactic heel and ankle dressings to prevent pressure ulcerations on boney prominences
Talk to your provider or nutritionist about a diet high in protein and consider the use of supplements such as Multiple Vitamins, Arginine, Zinc and anti-oxidants to maintain skin health.