If you are confined to a chair or bed for whatever reason, then you may be susceptible to pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores. If you are patient receiving treatment, pressure care will be considered part of your treatment plan with measures taken to prevent injuries from being in one place for extended periods of time. Each patient should be taken on as individual circumstances.
Areas that are prone to pressure injuries are known as bone prominences or areas in which the bones are closer to the surface that will be under a certain level of pressure and at greater risk of developing ulcers. Apart from the bone prominences, you also need to consider skin folds or areas in which skin-to-skin contact can create abrasion, and thereby be at risk of an ulcer.
The following images denote areas in which a person may be at risk of developing pressure ulcers as provided by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.
In order for proper blood circulation, you need to keep moving or in the event you are confined to a chair, you should have someone assist you by regularly taking pressure off ulcer risk zones. If you are seated in a chair, make an effort to carry out Weight Shifts such as tilting or reclining – this can be aided with the lift chairs/reclining chairs, leaning from side to side, leaning forward, independent push-ups – using your upper body strength to lift yourself up from the chair, and crossing your legs.
By ensuring you receive a well-balanced meal, you are able to take better care of your skin and in the process prevent skin damage.
Checking Your Skin
As you may spend a lot of time in one place, you should take caution and check your skin regularly. One of the priorities should be to keep the skin dry as moist skin (from perspiration/incontinence) can also be at risk for developing sores. You should also take the time to check the changes in your skin. If you are moving or someone is assisting you in changing positions for proper bloody supply and you are receiving proper nutrition, your skin will be able to stay healthy. Unhealthy skin is more susceptible to ulcers.
Pressure Care Products
For people who are required to sit in a chair or lay down in bed for lengthy periods of time, then using pressure care products is a must. For wheelchairs or lift chairs, you are able to use cushions, wheelchair pads or even a padded air chair (that also recline). For patients who are in bed, there are overlays of varying comforts. Mattresses specifically designed for pressure care and prevention are best suited for such circumstances. The Talley pressure care mattresses are great choices and are available for paediatric patients as well. They are ideal as they can be easily adjusted to suit a patient’s comfort requirements using the automatic pressure system.
Speak to the Independent Living Specialists resident Occupational Therapists to find out more information on the pressure care products that are ideal for your requirement.