To raise awareness of Pressure Injury Prevention Day on the 16th November, we have outlined the importance of pressure relief to raise national awareness. Pressure relief is especially important for the elderly in order to prevent pressure ulcers from developing. Pressure ulcers are caused when areas of the skin and the tissues underneath are damaged as a result of being placed under sufficient pressure that stops the body’s blood supply from flowing properly.
This immense type of pressure upon the tissue is usually caused when a person has been confined to a bed or chair for long periods of time. Although pressure ulcers are more commonly found in those who are seriously ill, such as those with impaired nutrition or mobility, it is important that as we get older, we all make a conscious effort to relieve body pressure. Simply being over the age of 70, as outlined by the NHS, can make anyone more vulnerable to the development of pressure ulcers.
Symptoms of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers can affect any part of the body that is under a large amount of continued pressure. The most common body parts to be affected by pressure ulcers are the heels, elbows, hips and base of the spine. They often develop gradually in the body and can be broken down into early and later developed symptoms:
Discoloured patches on the surface of the skin or skin that doesn’t turn white when pressure is applied can be a sign of pressure ulcers. People with pale skin are prone to red patches and those with darker skin tend to get purple or blue patches.
As a pressure ulcer develops, the skin can become broken and if untreated can progress in to a deep uncomfortable wound.
Category 2 Pressure Ulcer – an open wound/blister.
Category 3 Pressure Ulcer – a deep wound that reaches the deeper layer of the skin.
Category 4 Pressure Ulcer – a very deep wound that can reach the muscle or bone.
If you have any of these symptoms visit a GP to diagnose and treat the pressure ulcer, especially the later symptoms as these can lead to infection which needs to be treated as soon as possible.
Pressure Relief Products
Pressure relief products help reduce the risk of developing pressure ulcers or pressure sores and improving patient comfort whilst reducing unnecessary strain on carers. Browse our range of pressure relief products to find the best product for you. These pressure relief products are aimed to reduce pressure and ease any discomfort that a patient may be feeling in their day to day life. Cushioned supports, such as riser recliners and electronic mattress supporters, can assist as effective pressure care management. Cushions and specialised mattresses can also provide the critical support needed to relieve pressure and help levels of comfort. Below are a few of the most commonly used pressure relief products on the market.
Orthopedic Cushions and Mattresses:
These provide the patient with high levels of support for the head and body to relieve any mounting stress to the pressure points. The orthopedic products are designed to allow the circulation of air which helps prevent suffocation and stiffness to the surface. This type of pressure relief product improves levels of comfort and the patient’s quality of sleep.
Pressure Relief Wheelchair Sets:
For those who are wheelchair bound and at risk of pressure ulcers, cushioned wheelchair sets help to mold around the body and evenly distribute pressure to prevent immense pressure to a particular area of the body.
Accessories such as elbow pads have been developed to serve as an additional extra pressure relief to those who need it. Fleece provides a gentle interface which can be missing from natural surfaces. They give comfort to the bony parts of the body that are prone to pressure to relieve tension and ensure high levels of comfort and.
Pressure Relief Treatments
To prevent the onset of pressure ulcers there are number of pressure relief treatments that can reduce strain to the body’s tissues, these include:
Maintaining a Healthy Weight and Diet:
Obesity is one of the main factors that causes pressure ulcers. With obesity becoming more prevalent in today’s generation, it is vital to control a healthy weight and prevent unnecessary pressure to the body. Ensure that you maintain a healthy diet that includes enough protein and a balance of vitamins, minerals and healthy food. If you smoke, try cut this down and eventually quit as smoking heightens your vulnerability to pressure ulcers due to the damage caused to blood circulation.
Regularly Changing Position:
Change the body position regularly to relieve pressure, at least every 4-6 hours is recommended. You should also regularly check your body’s condition. As you are now aware of the symptoms of pressure ulcers, it is crucial, especially for those over 70, to regularly check your body for any possible signs of pressure. Check the skin for discolouration, difference in texture, or tenderness upon touch and consult a GP if you notice any of these changes.
Pressure ulcers are easily preventable and with any of these pressure aids they can be easily manageable to ensure you are kept comfortable and ultimately pain free. Browse our range of pressure relief products if you need to purchase aids to relieve the strain and pain that can occur in older age.