Changing position a better way to cope with pressure ulcer

Changing position a better way to cope with pressure ulcer

There are simple ways to cope with the pressure which is in fact quite beneficial. Getting patient up and make them move around as much as possible will minimize the impact of pressure on the some instances it is not always recommended because of the  patients ability to walk or such cases of patients changing positions as much as possible when sitting or lying on the bed. Changing your position means that you are relieving pressure on areas of your body that may be prone to developing pressure sores. The caregiver often needs help from someone else to change the position.

Introduction and Symptoms

A pressure ulcer (pressure sores or bedsores) is an injury to an area of the skin from extended pressure or friction. Different stages of damage exhibit different symptoms, including skin discoloration, pain, a shallow wound, or a deep wound that exposes fat, muscle, tendon, or bone.

Risk factors or causes

Pressure ulcers occur when reduced mobility (like prolonged sitting or lying down) causes pressure on a particular area of skin and hinders blood-flow. Lack of blood supply eventually damages the tissue and results in an open wound. The skin above bony areas like knees and elbows are at higher risk.


There are at least 4 stages of tissue degeneration from a pressure ulcer, and treatment will depend on how much a patient’s skin has been affected. Stage 1 or 2 pressure ulcers can be treated with the aid of a specialized mattress or cushion, which reduces pressure on the skin and body. Different dressings and bandages are also used for protection of the wound, and to encourage quicker healing. Antibiotics are used only if a wound is infected. Diet and nutrition is also critical, as protein, vitamin C, and zinc are known to promote rapid healing in damaged skin. Debridement is a procedure where dead tissues are removed from the ulcer to aid healing. Different debridement procedures include pressure irrigation, laser, and ultrasound. Another debridement option is the Maggot Therapy. Maggots feed on infected and dead ulcer tissues without harming healthy areas. Your doctor will dress the wound with maggots and remove after a few days; This treatment is tested and proven. A final treatment option for stage 3 and 4 patients is surgery. Surgery is performed by either closing the wound directly, or by taking tissue from another body-part and using it to seal the ulcer. 

Self care

Your understanding and application of self-care techniques will go a long way in managing early-stage pressure ulcer and preventing new wounds.

Relieving pressure: Those restricted to a wheelchair or bed are at highest risk. Cushions and pillows can be used to reduce pressure. When lying down, change positions regularly (about 2-hour intervals) to relieve pressure on particular locations.

Diet: Protein strengthens skin and expedites healing of wounds, so eat protein-rich balanced diets.

Smoking: Tobacco smoke hinders proper blood flow, thereby increasing chances to develop a pressure ulcer. Quitting will help wounds heal faster, and prevent future problems.

Managing the wound: Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, before and after attending to the wound’s dressing. Gently remove the old dressing. Use recommended spray-bottle to wash the wound. Pat dry with clean cloth, and apply a new, clean dressing to the wound. Regularly inspect the wound for improvement.

Drugs used in treating

The common drugs used in treating pressure ulcers are grouped into Skeletal Muscle Relaxants (either centrally acting or direct acting), and antibiotics. Skeletal muscle relaxants inhibit reflex muscle contraction either centrally (spinal cord) or directly (by decreasing calcium release). Antibiotics are used to fight infections caused by microorganisms

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