17th November 2015 – Stop the pressure

Posted on November 17, 2015 by AireAdmin

What is a pressure ulcer, who can get them and how can you prevent them? Will be the questions answered by clinical leaders across Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven, next week.

As part of the world-wide Stop Pressure Ulcer Day on Thursday 19 November, NHS staff will be out in the community raising awareness of pressure ulcers.

Staff from NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Cravel Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), along with specialist nurses from Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and Bradford District Care Trust, will be on hand in two local supermarkets. People can join in next Thursday to find out more about how to prevent pressure ulcers at:

  • Asda Supermarket, Keighley, 10am to 2pm
  • Tesco Supermarket, Skipton, 9am to 5pm

Janine Ashton, Tissue Viability Nurse at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said: “Anyone can develop a pressure ulcer whatever age they are, but they are more common in those who are very young or very old.

“Pressure ulcers can be serious, depending upon how much skin and tissue has been damaged. In extreme cases they can become life threatening if they become infected which may cause blood poisoning or bone infections.”

Steph Lawrence, Executive Nurse at NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG added: “Older people are particularly vulnerable to pressure ulcers, as they are more likely to have mobility problems and ageing skin.

“We have an increasing number of older people living in our district. It is vital that we raise public awareness, especially amongst carers and the families of those who are vulnerable to developing a pressure ulcer.

“As well as providing general information and leaflets on Thursday, there will be an opportunity to see some gruesome, but very lifelike, examples of pressure ulcers.”

In England, it’s estimated that half a million people will develop at least one pressure ulcer every year. Most people can be treated easily but for others pressure ulcers can be more serious and lead to life-threatening complications such as blood poisoning.

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, occur when an area of skin is placed under pressure and cause damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They can range in severity from patches of discoloured skin to open wounds that expose the underlying bone or muscle.

If you think you or someone you care for is at risk, there are steps you can take to prevent pressure ulcers:

  • Change position regularly to move your weight about.
  • Check your skin for any signs of pressure ulcers, for example changes to the look and feel of your skin or discolouration.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry
  • Use specialist equipment to protect vulnerable parts of the body such as specially designed mattresses and cushions.
  • Eat and drink well – a healthy, balanced diet helps make sure you have the right nutrients for your skin and helps healing.
  • Quit smoking – smoking reduces the levels of oxygen in your blood

Remember to contact your GP or your healthcare team if you notice any signs of damage to your skin or that of someone you care for. You can also find out more about pressure ulcers on the NHS Choices website http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pressure-ulcers