Pressure injuries – excellent information
WHAT IS A PRESSURE INJURY AND HOW TO PREVENT THESE?
As Pressure injuries (PI) are HealthCERT project this year to gather data around serious pressure injuries in aged care which will lead to awareness raising and positive outcomes for both residents and providers, I thought it may be helpful to remind ourselves about the importance for all staff to refresh ourselves on how to prevent PI’s! The below is from the First do no harm brochure, which I believe is clear and easy to understand info.
A pressure injury is an area of damaged skin and flesh caused by staying in one position for too long (e.g. prolonged sitting or lying).
Pressure injuries are also sometimes known as bed sores, pressure sores, pressure areas or pressure ulcers. They can develop in a matter of hours and usually begin with the skin changing colour. Pain or discomfort may occur. If the pressure is not relieved regularly, skin can be damaged ranging from a blister to a
deep open wound. Which parts of the body are most vulnerable? Pressure injuries develop on parts of the body that take the weight and where the bone is
close to the surface.
Lying on back: head shoulder elbow buttock heel, toes
Lying on stomach: head, elbow chin chest reproductive organ knee toes,
Lying on side: ear shoulder elbow (outer) hip knee (outer) heel knee (inner) ankle
Sitting: head shoulder sacrum buttock heel
Who is at risk of getting a pressure injury? People are at risk if they:
• spend long periods of time in bed
• are in a wheelchair or sit for long periods of time in a chair
• have difficulty moving about
• have a serious illness or had major surgery
• have damp skin from sweating or incontinence (e.g. difficulty getting to the toilet in time, loss of bladder or bowel control)
• have loss of feeling (e.g. due to epidural, diabetes or following a stroke) or poor blood flow
• do not eat a balanced diet or have enough fluids to drink.
Despite the risks pressure injuries can be avoided…
What can you do to prevent pressure injuries? If a person is in bed:
• Change position every two to three hours, moving between the back and sides
• Use pillows to stop knees and ankles touching each other, particularly when person is lying on their side
• Try to avoid creases in the bed linen
• If sitting up in bed, be aware that sliding down the bed can cause a pressure injury to bottom and heels
If person is in a wheelchair: Relieve pressure by leaning forward, or leaning side to side for a few minutes every half hour.
What else can be done to help?
• A healthy diet and drink plenty fluids
• Keep skin clean and dry
• Good and safe continence management.
Pressure injuries can sometimes occur even if everything is being done to prevent them.
Acknowledgement: Developed by Counties Manukau Health and adapted by Auckland