Pressure ulcers or bedsores are injuries that develop due to prolonged pressure on the skin, mostly on heels, hips, ankles and tailbone. They are common amongs’t people who cannot change sitting or sleeping positions due to medical conditions that tend to limit their ability to move. Some sores are manageable while others do not heal at all. All hope is not lost because as we shall come to see later on Drive DeVilbiss mattress guide, there are solutions to contain such scenarios.
Signs and Symptoms of Pressure Ulcers
- Skin color and texture change
- Skin swelling
- Pus-like liquid draining
- Skin tenderness
- Some areas of skin feeling warmer or colder compared to others
Pressure ulcers are most common in the following areas for people who use wheelchairs;
- Shoulder blades
- Tailbone and spine
- Back part of their arms because of resting against the chair
For those confined in beds, these are some of the most common areas to find pressure ulcers;
- Back and on the sides of the head
- Hips and on the tailbone
- Shoulder blades
- On the heels, ankles and behind the knees skin
It is advisable to seek medical attention if you notice pressure ulcers symptoms such as swelling around a sore or bad smell coming from the sore, and if the changing of positions does not relieve skin pressure.
What causes pressure ulcers
We have already mentioned that pressure is one of the most causes of pressure ulcers but we shall see into detail how it comes to be. These are the main causes of bed sores or rather pressure ulcers;
- Medically, any area of the body that gets subjected to constant pressure results to limited blood circulation on the underlying skin tissue. Since the blood flow facilitates oxygen and other nutrients delivery to body tissues, absence of these nutrients means that tissues end up damaged and may even die. That is the case study of people with limited mobility who cannot change sitting or lying positions because pressure tends to affect areas that lie near bones, like the spine and the hips since there is no much muscle or fat in those areas to sustain the pressure.
- This happens when the skin moves or rubs against clothing and this only makes the already vulnerable skin to possible injury.
- This occurs when two parts move in the opposite direction. This can happen to the skin especially in a situation whereby the bed is elevated hence facilitating sliding down the bed.
Factors that facilitate pressure sores development
Pressure ulcers do not just appear, there must be a cause that triggers their occurrence. These are some of the factors that could be facilitating pressure ulcers;
- Inability to move. This could be due to old age factor, poor health or spinal cord related injuries or terminal illnesses.
- Medical conditions that tend to affect blood flow. Health related conditions such as diabetes affect blood circulation therefore facilitating damage of tissues in areas where the blood cannot reach.
- Inadequate sensory perception. Neurological disorders result to loss of sensation in some parts of the body, therefore causing the inability to feel discomfort or pain hence one may not be aware that certain areas of their skin are being subjected to unwanted pressure.
- Poor nutrition. A healthy skin prevents body tissues breakdown hence the need for intake of adequate fluids, proteins, vitamins and calories. Poor nutrition without essential nutrients for tissues nourishing only results to their destruction.
How to prevent and contain pressure ulcers
Bedsores or pressure ulcers can be prevented by frequently changing sleeping positions to avoid stressing the skin area. Maintaining good nutrition habits are other alternative ways to ensure that your skin does not to succumb to harmful pressure.
However, it is evident that there is a group of people who cannot even manage turning themselves over due to limiting health conditions. This group of people can get relief from pressure area care mattresses.
Pressure area care mattresses
These are special types of mattresses designed specifically to help sickly people who for one reason or another cannot manage to change sleeping positions. They help prevent pressure ulcers.
Drive DeVilbiss mattress guide
- Hybrid mattresses
This type of pressure area care mattress has a self-regulating air intake system that provides the right comfort surface position by examining the patients mass and weight. The air filled cells either allow or escape air to facilitate accurate pressure distribution levels whenever a patient enters the bed. Later when the patient leaves the bed, air is drawn back to the cells and the earlier levels of inflation are restored.
- Foam mattresses
These mattresses are made from high density foam and they are suitable for patients vulnerable to pressure ulcers. They provide superior reduced pressure compared to the regular hospital foam mattress and are effective at preventing friction and shear which are some of the common causes of pressure ulcers.
- Dynamic therapy mattress
These kinds of mattresses are usually powered with pumps which contain air tubes which constantly inflate and deflate air cells providing relevant pressure on the part where the patient is lying.
For those using wheelchairs
Apart from those patients who are bedridden for various reasons, we have another special group of people who spend most of their life sitting because they are confined in wheelchairs for different reasons which could run from physical disabilities or spinal related injuries. We mentioned earlier that they too are possible victims of pressure ulcers. That is because when they are sit for a long time, underlying tissue in areas such as the back of the hands and legs tend to succumb to ulcers because of constant friction with the parts of the wheel chair. To overcome pressure sores in such scenarios, cushions with similar design and specifications of the above discussed mattresses can be of great help. Their covers are breathable and vapor permeable.
These cushions are also applicable to the bedridden patients in instances where they need to sit and stretch in the provided wheelchairs.