Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores, occur when the skin comes into contact with a hard surface for long periods of time, often where a bone or joint is located. Most common in people who spend a lot of time in bed or in a wheelchair, they range in severity and can be treated in a variety of different ways.
Having in-depth information about pressure sores is vital for carers, as these wounds can become very serious if left untreated. By knowing how to recognise the symptoms of pressure ulcers, as well as being trained on how to treat them, carers can help to heal these sores and maximise comfort for those in their care.
Read on below for more advice on treating pressure sores.
Using the right kind of dressing for a pressure ulcer wound can help a great deal with recovery. Although the type of dressing used will depend on the severity of the sore, the two types most often used are hydrocolloid dressings and alginate dressings. Both of these dressings are designed to absorb secretions and form a gel that helps to heal the wound.
Hydrocolloid dressings are biodegradable and non-breathable, providing moist conditions that help to heal low to moderate exuding wounds. These adhesive dressings require no additional taping, and work with polysaccharides and other polymers, which absorb water from the wound. They are made of flexible material which is comfortable and suitable for delicate skin.
Alginate dressings are used for moderate and high exuding wounds, which may be chronic or acute and may have some minor bleeding. Like hydrocolloid dressings, they absorb moisture and form a gel that helps with healing. As well as being used for pressure ulcer wounds, these versatile dressings are also used for burns, surgical incisions, skin grafts and infected wounds.
One of the most important parts of pressure sore treatment is ensuring that the patient changes position at regular intervals. This movement will prevent the build-up of pressure in one particular area, thus preventing existing sores from worsening and stopping new ones from developing. As a carer, this may mean creating a repositioning timetable that every member of the care team will follow. It is important to communicate with the patient before going ahead with moving them, to ensure that they are comfortable and happy to be moved.
A variety of specialist furniture and equipment is available to help with pressure sore treatment and prevention. These pressure care products are designed to make the patient more comfortable, providing padding in the areas that are experiencing pressure. Specialist mattresses provide the right amount of support, and are available in dynamic versions to help with position changes. Cushions and leg rests provide extra comfort, as do elbow and heel protectors. All of these items aim to make patients as comfortable as possible during their recovery, and can help prevent ulcers from developing and worsening.
The risk of pressure sores developing is higher when the skin is exposed to moisture for long periods of time, making it more susceptible to friction damage. Carers should therefore be especially careful to provide skin care for individuals with incontinence, as well as ensuring that appropriate incontinence products are used to absorb moisture effectively, keeping it away from the skin.
We hope you’ve found our guidance on treating pressure sores useful. Here at Care Shop, we offer a wide range of products to help you with providing pressure care, including dressings, heel protectors and dynamic mattresses, so you can find everything you need to help relieve those in your care from the discomfort of pressure sores.