Pressure injuries: prevention is key!

Pressure injuries or bedsores can be extremely painful. They are caused by prolonged pressure on the skin, usually over a bony area like the heel. For a patient with a pressure injury, simple everyday activities such as turning, lifting and cleaning can be agonizing.

Most pressure injuries are preventable, and as part of World Wide Pressure Injury Prevention Day on Nov. 16, 2017, Covenant Health is encouraging healthcare professionals, patients and families of loved ones in care to take an active role in preventing pressure injuries. 

Here are five things you can do to detect and prevent pressure injuries: 

1. Understand the risk level

Talk to a healthcare professional about what level of risk your skin or loved one's skin is at. Are there any changes to overall health that may affect your skin?

2. Inspect the skin

Check for reddening or other colour changes over bony areas or on skin under medical devices such as splints or masks. Ask a healthcare professional to take a look for you if you can’t look at your own skin.

Nancy is inspecting the skin underneath Jennifer's medical equipment by removing the medical equipment and checking the skin underneath.

3. Keep moving

Regular movement can greatly reduce your risk of developing a pressure injury. Subtle changes can make a difference even if your loved one can’t move. Ask for help, changing positions frequently—a minimum of every two hours and more often when sitting in a chair.

4. Keep skin clean, moisturized and protected

Use mild soap and warm water to clean skin. Do not rub or scrub when you wash. It is essential to keep skin clean and dry.

Ask your family to apply creams lightly and gently to your skin.

5. Pay attention to nutrition and hydration

Individuals are at risk of developing a pressure injury if they are not eating and drinking well. 

Involving families as care team members and encouraging their presence throughout the care journey can help improve patient satisfaction and decrease the length of time spent in hospital. 

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