Health professionals at Airedale Hospital have been promoting pressure ulcer prevention as part of Worldwide Stop Pressure Ulcers Day, which took place on 21 November.
Pressure ulcers can affect any part of the body that is put under pressure for long periods of time. They’re most common on bony parts of the body, such as the heels, elbows, hips and base of the spine. They are treatable, but they can take a long time to heal. If left untreated they can result in a deep wound that can become infected and, in serious cases, need surgery.
Worldwide Stop Pressure Ulcers Day aims to raise awareness of the signs of pressure damage to vulnerable areas of the body. On 21 November the tissue viability team at Airedale Hospital put together an information stand to help staff, patients and visitors to learn more about pressure ulcer prevention. The campaign encourages people to wear a red dot as a simple symbol to bring attention to the impact of pressure ulcers and continue the conversation around prevention.
Tissue viability nurse Katie Waddingham said: “Although we are working with patients here in the hospital, it’s important that anyone who spends a lot of time sitting or lying down knows how to check their skin regularly, and what to do if you notice the early signs of pressure damage to the skin. Carers or family members may also help to check for skin changes. Skin should be inspected daily to look for signs including the skin looking red or purple, or feeling too warm, too cold or numb; swelling, hardness and pain.
“The best way to prevent pressure ulcers is to keep moving. Moving and changing position lets your blood flow to all areas of your skin, which lowers the chance of getting a pressure ulcer. Other preventative measures include keeping yourself clean and dry, and having a healthy diet and plenty of drinks such as water, juice, tea or coffee.
“Here at Airedale we assess our inpatients and check their skin on admission and throughout their stay, to treat and try prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. We make sure that, where possible, we change our patients’ positions, and have aids that can help relieve pressure, including air mattresses, air cushions and wedges. However we do see people being admitted to hospital with pressure ulcers, which is why we want to encourage everyone to recognise the signs and try to prevent them.”
If anyone thinks they or someone they care for may be at risk of developing pressure ulcers, more information is available on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pressure-sores/. You can also speak to your local GP, district nurse or tissue viability nurse.