February 03, 2011
Risk factors for pressure sores:
- Advanced age – the skin loses its elasticity as one ages
- Incontinence and exposure to moisture
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Reduced ability to sense discomfort and change body posture frequently
Areas that are prone to pressure sores are depicted below:
Prevention of Pressure sores:
In general, pressure sores can be prevented by observing the following:
- Pressure relief – using devices like Ripple Mattresses and Low Memory Foam Cushions.
- Frequent change of position, preferably every 2 hours
- Preventing exposure to moisture, such as frequent diaper changes or temporary use of urinary catheters and colostomy bags.
- Maintenance of proper nutritional and hydration status.
- Treatment of coexisting conditions such as Anemia or Diabetes.
- Maintaining a high index of suspicion and actively looking for pressure areas to commence early treatment.
Treatment of pressure ulcers depend on it stage and the presence of other complications. It is best left in the hands of medical professionals who have sufficient experience in managing these problems. At times, surgical intervention and the use of antibiotics may be required as a life saving measure.
Always remember, pressure sore can be life threatening and prevention is less complicated than treatment.
Dr. Ramnan Jeyasingam
Chief of Medical Services
Columbia Asia Extended Care Hospital