10 Ways to Prevent Pressure Ulcers

10 Ways to Prevent Pressure Ulcers

1. Risk Assessment: risk assessment tools, such as the Braden scale, help caretakers recognize a patient’s risk of developing pressure ulcers. Clearly documented risk assessment is vital in preventing and treating pressure ulcers. [1]

2. Skin Inspections: a patient’s skin should be examined regularly for signs of pressure damage. The first sign of tissue damage is often non-blanching erythema. Other signs of skin damage include heat, induration and swelling.

3. Skin care: keeping a patient’s skin clean, dry, and hydrated can help prevent damage. Skin should be dried carefully and any rubbing or friction should be avoided.

4. Moisture: excessive perspiration, oedema and incontinence can cause skin damage from excess moisture. Incontinence can be particularly harmful to a patient’s skin and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent any associated damage.

5. Incontinence: incontinence and pressure ulcers often co-exist. The use of incontinence pads with the appropriate application of a barrier cream can be helpful, while the use of indwelling urethral catheters should only be considered as a last resort due to the risk of infection.

6. Nutrition: good nutrition is essential for pressure ulcer prevention and healing. A Patient’s diet should be assessed regularly and any nutritional needs should be addressed. Keeping patients hydrated is also a vital part of preventing pressure ulcers.

7. Position: the position of a patient’s body should be considered when trying to prevent pressure ulcers.

8. Ergonomics: ergonomics refers to making sure a patient’s environment is suited to aiding in the performance of everyday tasks. It is important to consider ergonomics when choosing the size and placement of furniture such as beds, chairs and mattresses.

9. Repositioning: all patients should be encouraged to reposition themselves regularly. For patients who require assistance, repositioning should be done with consideration for the patient’s comfort, dignity and functional ability.

10. Pressure-redistributing equipment: pressure ulcer equipment has two main functions — to redistribute pressure and to provide comfort. Mattresses and seating must provide pressure-reducing cushioning for patients at high risk for developing pressure ulcers.

[1]Wilson, Marie. “How to… Ten top tips: preventing pressure ulcers.” Wounds International. Web. 01 September 2011.

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