Help us Protect YOUR SKIN. How you and your family can reduce the risk of getting pressure ulcers.
What is a Pressure Ulcer?
A pressure ulcer, sometimes called a “bedsore,” is when the skin and tissue below it gets hurt, usually by constant pressure.
Pressure ulcers commonly form where your bones are close to your skin, such as your ankles, elbows, back, heels, and hips. They start as red areas, but can hurt skin and muscles if not treated quickly.
What causes a Pressure Ulcer?
Pressure ulcers are areas of damaged skin caused by staying in one position for too long. The pressure squeezes tiny blood vessels that provide nutrients and oxygen to the skin, causing tissues to die and pressure ulcers to form.
Sliding down in a bed or chair, or even a slight rubbing on the skin, can also cause pressure ulcers by stretching blood vessels.
Are You at Risk of Getting a Pressure Ulcer?
You are at risk if you:
- Are bedridden or use a wheelchair
- Are unable to change your position for long periods of time
- Have loss of urine and/or stool control
- Do not eat or drink enough
Pressure ulcers are serious and lead to:
- Longer healing time from health problems
- Possible complications (i.e. infections)
You can help reduce your risk by:
- Keeping your skin clean and dry
- Changing your position every two hours
- Using pillows, a special mattress, or a chair cushion to reduce pressure
- Talking to your health care team about your care
- Getting involved with your turning schedule
- Involving your family
For continuation of wound care, Jersey City Medical Center provides the Wound Care Center in Jersey City. The center treats non-healing wounds such as arterial, venous, diabetic, pressure ulcers, trauma, and burns.
For more information please call: (201) 946-6888
Key Steps to Prevent Pressure Ulcers
Protect your skin from injury
- If you are in bed, your position should be changed at least every two hours.
- If you are in a chair, your position should be changed at least every hour. If you are able to shift your own position, you should do so every 15 minutes while sitting.
Reduce Rubbing Against Your Skin
- When moving in your bed, do not pull or drag yourself across the sheets. Also, do not push or pull with your heels.
- Avoid repeated movements such as rubbing your foot on the sheets to scratch an itchy spot.
- Avoid the use of doughnut-shaped cushions as they can actually hurt your skin.
Take care of your skin
- Have your skin checked at least once a day.
- Prevent dry skin using a cream or ointment.
- If you notice any abnormal areas, notify your nurses as soon as possible.
Keep your skin safe from moisture
- Use pads that pull moisture away from your body.
- Use a cream or ointment to protect your skin from urine and/or stool.
Be prepared if you stay in bed for long time periods
- Talk to your nurses about getting a special mattress or mattress covering.
- Try to keep the head of your bed as low as possible, unless you cannot because of medical reasons. (You can raise the head of the bed to do some activities as well.)
- Use pillows or foam wedges to keep knees and ankles from touching each other.
- Use pillows to help spread your body weight and pressure more evenly if lying on your side. Never lie right on your hip bone.
- Place pillows under your legs from mid-calf to ankle to help keep your heels off the bed if you cannot move at all. Never place pillows behind your knees.
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