Tackling Pressure Ulcers: Proper Patient Care
In the UK, 700,000 people are affected by pressure ulcers each year, ensuring this global issue continues to be something of a headache for health professionals and care units across the world.
Pressure ulcers are prevalent in pretty much every care environment: 1 in 10 get treated for pressure ulcers in UK care homes; alone, they are the most costly chronic wound to the NHS (costing £1.4-£2.1bn every year); and they are common in domiciliary/home care too. The most vulnerable patients are those aged 75 and over, with their skin being weaker and less resistant to pressure.
Nonetheless, with proper patient care and the correct pressure relieving equipment, this problem can be tackled. Research suggests that…
80-95% of all pressure ulcers are avoidable
As a provider of care equipment, at Alpine HC we are extremely passionate about reducing the extortionately high costs of pressure care in the healthcare sector. As a manufacturer we have developed a range of pressure relieving equipment under our Opera brand, and work closely and actively with care environments to promote proper patient care.
Pressure ulcers are distressing, not just for the sufferer, but for the carer and those near to the sufferer as well. Through our effort on all things pressure care, we aim to take away, not only the extreme costs that come with curing pressure ulcers, but also the mental strain for those who suffer indirectly as well as directly from these sometimes life-threatening ulcers.
Proper Patient Care
Preventing a pressure ulcer is a far more manageable task than the challenging feat of healing developed and advanced pressure ulcers. Frequent re-positioning of the patient will greatly reduce the risk of gaining a pressure ulcer, and promoting mobility to increase the pace of blood circulation through the patient’s body will help to redistribute pressure on the body evenly.
Ensuring skin is kept clean and healthy is also a preventative measure, a task that will require a large amount of carer assistance. The NHS have created a simple acronym as a sort of nursing check-list called SSKIN. By carrying out the five types of care stated by SSKIN, the NHS claim that 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable by using the process.
Pressure relieving aids and equipment are also important in preventing ulcers. Specialist pressure mattresses, cushions, and other pressure relieving accessories are very important to keep pressure on the patient’s skin as low as possible. Neither carer assistance nor equipment used independently will prevent pressure ulcers, but combine the two, and pressure ulcer prevention becomes very achievable.
If an ulcer has already developed, increased nursing is required. Most grade 1 and 2 pressure ulcers will fully heal if cared for effectively, but stage 3 and 4 ulcers are significantly more difficult to treat, and require long-term nursing and care to bring about healing. Always seek professional advice and care as soon as possible; stage 3 and 4 ulcers will usually be treated by a doctor.
Keeping ulcers clean and sealed will help in preventing infection, and advanced pressure care equipment can be purchased to distribute pressure evenly across the sufferer’s skin. Specialist air flow pressure mattresses use intelligent pressure sensing technology to minimise, and the more advanced systems will remove the pressure from affected parts of the body altogether, greatly increasing the chances of recovery.
Statistics sourced from nhs.uk and bedsorefaq.com.
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