which describes the systems and strategies to prevent patients developing pressure injuries and best practice management when pressure injuries occur.
Preventing Pressure Injuries
A pressure injury or ulcer is a sore, a break or blister of the skin that is commonly caused by constant unrelieved pressure on an area of the body for a long period. Pressure ulcers can be painful, take a long time to heal and may reduce mobility.
It is immobility that causes pressure injuries. In the majority of cases pressure injuries are preventable if the prevention strategies are followed. Consider not only reducing immobility, but also factors such as nutritional status, skin integrity, mobility, age and level of oxygenation of the blood to pressure point injuries.
The following steps should be taken to prevent getting pressure injuries.
- Ensure good posture when sitting in a chair. Avoid sitting in a slumped position. Always sit up straight with your bottom in the back of the chair and with your back resting against the back of the chair.
- Change your body position frequently if lying in bed for a prolonged time. The staff will instruct you to change your position if necessary while you are in the operating theatre.
- Use special mattresses, heel elevators and jelly protectors to help relieve the pressure.
- Inspect your skin for early warnings of redness that does not go away, broken or blistered skin, localised pain, tingling or numbness. If you cannot see all your body ask someone to help you.
- Bathe or wash with warm water and a mild cleanser or soap that does not make the skin dry.
- Use a moisturising lotion to prevent your skin drying out. Avoid vigorous massage or rubbing the skin, as this can damage the underlying tissue.
- Keep your skin clean and dry at all times. If you use a continence device to control your bowel or bladder, it is important that you change it regularly to keep the skin clean and dry and reduce skin irritation from urine and faeces.
- Apply a special dressing to the existing pressure area or potential area to protect the site.
- Ensure your nutrition and hydration is optimal. If you think you have a pressure injury or ulcer or are developing a pressure ulcer, it is important to tell the nursing staff at the time of the pre-operative phone call and at admission.