In recent years, the NHS has started to focus on the area of pressure ulcer prevention with some outstanding results seen in hospitals across the UK. However, this good work has largely remained with the hospital setting when most people who could be regarded as at risk of developing pressure ulcers are in fact being cared for, either formally or informally, out in the community.
Factors Influencing Pressure Ulcers
Several factors can increase an individual’s possibility of developing pressure ulcers, and regrettably dementia is one of the most common. People suffering from dementia have diminished capacity to take on information regarding pressure ulcer prevention and usually do not want to engage in active prevention, and therefore the carers have to take the responsibility to make sure that the basics are being done.
Tips to Prevent Pressure Ulcers
When attempting to prevent pressure ulcers, five main areas have to be addressed. These include skin inspections, incontinence, reduced mobility, feeling unwell, and taking on sufficient food and drink. For all these areas, some very simple steps can be taken to help mitigate the risk of pressure damage.
If a person becomes incontinent and no care plan is available, advice can be sought from a healthcare professional such as a GP or district nurse. It is important to routinely check the main areas of the body that are more susceptible to pressure damage for red marks. The bottom, heels, and base of the back are the areas where damage occurs more commonly. If a person becomes sick for a time period, this can impact his or her risk of developing pressure ulcers. Again, carers should seek the help of a healthcare professional.
Locations of common pressure damage.
With regards to skin, decreased mobility can have serious implications on an individual. If a person becomes bedridden or starts sleeping in a chair then this should ring alarm bells for the carers. And lastly, nutrition is important in terms of healthy skin and therefore anyone who is not consuming ample food and drink is jeopardizing their skin and action needs to be taken.
When it comes to preventing pressure ulcers, there is plenty of information to keep in mind. However, some extremely simple tools have been designed to help make use of this information.
About React to Red Skin
The prevention of avoidable pressure ulcers in the community is one of the biggest challenges that care organizations face - a challenge which currently costs the NHS and care organizations in the UK around £6.5 billion per year.
Pressure ulcers affect around 700,000 people in the UK every year and many of these will develop whilst an individual is being cared for in a formal care setting (hospital, nursing home or care home). The reality is that many pressure ulcers are avoidable if simple knowledge is provided and preventative best practice is followed.
React to Red Skin's aim is to provide some simple solutions to some of the challenges faced and to provide education about the five key things that can be done in order to reduce the risk of an individual developing a pressure ulcer.
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