Pressure Injury

Pressure Injury

Definition

Pressure injuries, often referred to as pressure ulcers or bedsores, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. These injuries can occur in anyone but are most common in individuals with limited mobility, such as those confined to a bed or wheelchair.

Causes

Pressure injuries are primarily caused by three main factors: sustained pressure, friction, and shear. Sustained pressure on the skin reduces blood flow to the area, friction can damage the outer layer of the skin, and shear occurs when two surfaces move in opposite directions, such as when a patient slides down in a bed.

Risk Factors

Key risk factors for developing pressure injuries include immobility, poor nutrition, moisture (from incontinence, for example), decreased sensation, and advanced age. These factors can impair skin health and reduce blood flow, making it harder for the skin to recover from pressure-related damage.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs of a pressure injury include unusual changes in skin color or texture, swelling, pus-like draining, and the area may be tender, painful, or firm to the touch. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.

Stages

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) classifies pressure injuries into four stages:

  • Stage 1: Non-blanchable erythema of intact skin
  • Stage 2: Partial-thickness skin loss with exposed dermis
  • Stage 3: Full-thickness skin loss
  • Stage 4: Full-thickness skin and tissue loss

Prevention

Preventive measures include regular repositioning, maintaining skin hygiene, ensuring proper nutrition and hydration, and using support surfaces like specialized mattresses or cushions. For our patients, products like HeelZup® Heel Elevators are designed to offload pressure from high-risk areas such as the heels, significantly reducing the risk of pressure injuries.

Treatment

Treatment focuses on relieving pressure on the affected area, caring for wounds, managing pain, and preventing infection. This may include the use of dressings, creams, and specialized mattresses or cushions to reduce pressure.

Complications

Without proper treatment, pressure injuries can lead to severe infections, sepsis, and even the need for surgery. These complications can prolong hospital stays and increase the risk of hospital readmissions.

Management

Effective management of pressure injuries involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes regular assessment, appropriate wound care, nutritional support, and, importantly, prevention strategies to avoid the development of new injuries.

Wound Care

Wound care for pressure injuries involves cleaning the wound, removing dead tissue, applying dressings, and possibly using antibiotics if an infection is present. The choice of wound care products and techniques depends on the stage and severity of the pressure injury.

Assessment

Regular assessment of at-risk individuals is vital for early detection and prevention of pressure injuries. This includes monitoring skin condition, nutritional status, and mobility. Tools such as the Braden Scale can help healthcare professionals assess a patient’s risk of developing pressure injuries.

National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP)

The NPUAP provides healthcare professionals with evidence-based guidelines on the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries. It plays a crucial role in educating and setting standards for patient care.

Braden Scale

The Braden Scale is a widely used tool for predicting pressure sore risk. It assesses six criteria: sensory perception, moisture, activity, mobility, nutrition, and friction/shear. Each category is scored, and a lower total score indicates a higher risk of developing pressure injuries.

At Intensive Therapeutics, we understand the critical nature of preventing and treating pressure injuries. Our HeelZup® Heel Elevators and No-Slip Wedge products are designed with the patient’s health, safety, and comfort in mind. By offloading pressure from vulnerable areas, we strive to play a pivotal role in the prevention and management of pressure injuries. For more information on how our products can aid in the care of those at risk for or currently suffering from pressure injuries, please contact us.

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