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Pressure Injuries

What is a pressure injury?

  • Pressure injuries (also known as bed sores) are skin wounds that are caused by staying in one position for too long. These types of wounds often take a long time to heal, can become infected, and cause great discomfort and pain. If left untreated can even cause death.
  • Pressure injuries are a common type of sore that can happen quickly when an area of skin dies because of periods of pressure put on it. For example if a person sits or lies for a long time in one position, the pressure in the skin could cut off the blood supply to the skin, and if the pressure is unrelieved, the area of the skin could start to die.
  • Pressure injuries can also happen when the skin is dragged over a surface. Make sure to lift yourself completely when moving. If you can’t move yourself, ask your carer to assist.

Where do they occur?

Pressure injuries are most likely to appear on areas where your skin and bones are close such as:

  • Elbows
  • Back
  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Heels
  • Other areas of skin under pressure for a long time

Who is at risk?

Risk factors that make a person more likely to develop a pressure injury include:

  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Being immobile
  • Poor circulation
  • Damaged nerves
  • Incontinence
  • Heart or kidney disease
  • Taking certain medications

What can you do?

Skin should be monitored and cared for on a daily basis. Some things to consider:

  • Check your skin and be aware of any new reddened area, this could be a sign of a pressure injury developing.
  • Check for any other skin changes, such as purple or maroon areas, blisters, spongy areas or swelling, Your skin feels warmer than usual or you are sweating more.
  • Check for scratches or dry skin.
  • Make sure you are eating well and drinking enough fluids. If you are unsure ask your health care provider for advice.
  • Check with your healthcare provider to learn how pressure relief devices are used correctly.
  • Make sure your clothes and bed linens dry and not soiled.
  • Any signs you notice you must voice immediately to your healthcare provider. Pressure injuries are much easier to treat if found early and may also be prevented.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a health care professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. It is important that you contact your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns.

Video resources

 

 

NDIS

Your guide to wound and pressure care supports on the NDIS.

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'Wellbeing with a Wound' Diary

A guide to support you in the management of your wound.

Download the diary

Wellbeing and your wound

Download the information sheet