Keep Moving was the message on Stop Pressure Ulcer Day this week.

Stop Pressure Ulcer Day is a global annual event in which industry, healthcare professionals, the public and media come together to help raise awareness of pressure ulcers – something many people are touched by every year. The aim is to increase public knowledge in a bid to prevent pressure ulcers affecting so many people each year.

A pressure ulcer is an area of damage to the skin and underlying tissue. They are sometimes known as bed sores, pressure sores/injuries or decubitus ulcers.

It is usually caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long without moving or by rubbing or dragging your skin across a surface.

A pressure ulcer can develop in only a few hours. It will usually start with the skin becoming slightly redder, warmer or darker than usual. This can go on to become blister- like or an open wound.

Over a longer time period this can become larger and deeper, and can cause serious harm in extreme cases.

Anyone can be at risk; however people at an increased risk of developing a pressure ulcer are those who:

  • Have problems moving and are unable to change their own position
  • Cannot feel pain over part or all of their body
  • Have incontinence problems
  • Are seriously ill or undergoing surgery
  • Have had pressure ulcers in the past
  • Have a poor diet or don’t drink enough
  • Are very old or very young
  • Suffer with anaemia
  • Have poor circulation

There are several ways you can reduce the risk of pressure ulcers: such as having a skin check up and asking your relative or carer to regularly check your skin for signs of pressure ulcer damage.

If an area is red it should turn white when you press it then return to red. If the area stays red for more than 20 minutes then you should seek help One of the best ways of preventing a pressure ulcer is to reduce or relieve pressure on areas that are vulnerable to pressure ulcers (bony parts of the body) by frequently changing position, at least every couple o fhours or as directed by your health care professional. This can be as simple as standing up for a few moments, or being assisted in a new lying position dependent upon your needs.

Make sure you eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids. Extra protein may help, also.

At North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, our team of tissue viability nurses are here to help you. We want to get the message out and help as many people as possible.