Pressure Care

A pressure sore is an area of skin or soft tissue damage caused by excessive or constant pressure.   Pressure closes the blood vessels which supply blood to the skin and underlying tissue, causing damage to the tissues. A red area develops indicating reduced circulation to that area.   If the pressure continues, the skin will continue to be damaged and will die, causing an ulcer or sore to develop.   The resulting damage first appears on the skin surface as a red or dark patch.   As the pressure sore progresses, the skin will break down to form an open sore or blisters, dead skin and ultimately infect underlying tissues, bones and joints. This type of skin damage can develop quickly in anyone with reduced mobility, such as an older people or someone confined to a bed or chair due to illness or injury, can get pressure ulcers.   For those with impaired mobility or sensation, pressure sores are a major cause of hospitalisation.   The skin of older people tends to be thinner and more delicate (i.e. like tissue paper), which means an older person has an increased risk of developing a pressure sore.

Factors that may put an individual at risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores can include:
- Aging skin
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug abuse
- Dehydration
- Smoking
- High exposure to UV rays
- Poor or unhealthy diet

1.3 People are at risk of developing pressure sores if they have difficulty moving and are unable to easily change position while seated or in bed. Immobility may be due to:
  * Generally poor health or weakness
  * Paralysis
  * Injury or illness that requires bed rest or wheelchair use
  * Recovery after surgery
  * Sedation
  * Coma
Other factors that increase the risk of pressure sores include:
  * Age.┬áThe skin of older adults is generally more fragile, thinner, less elastic and drier than the skin of younger adults. Also, older adults usually produce new skin cells more slowly. These factors make skin vulnerable to damage.