Pressure ulcers develop on parts of the body that are put under sustained pressure or friction, often affecting people with restricted mobility. They typically start out as a discolored area of skin that may be itchy or sore to the touch. This is what medical professionals refer to as a category one pressure ulcer.
Preventing Pressure Ulcer Development
Preventing a category one pressure ulcer from deteriorating can be a real challenge, particularly for people who struggle to move and change position regularly. While repositioning is the best way to relieve pressure on affected areas, it can also be a source of friction, which can cause skin to shear.
The first consideration when it comes to treating category one pressure ulcers is usually determining how often people should move about, then coaching them in how best to adjust their positions without rubbing their skin against surfaces. Care teams may coach patients on correct positioning when sitting or lying down, and train them to adjust positions regularly. This may involve planning a repositioning timetable.
General advice for preventing pressure ulcer development includes:
- Keeping skin clean and dry.
- Moving about as often as once every 15 minutes.
- Making sure not to stay sedentary in one position for more than four hours at a time.
- Positioning yourself so that your skin will not rub or slide against surfaces.
Treating Existing Pressure Ulcers
Getting into a good routine of changing position regularly and carefully can drastically reduce the risk of pressure ulcer development and severity. However, patients are likely to need special equipment to help with discomfort and to reduce friction when moving from one position to another. Care teams are likely to advise dressing affecting areas and using pressure-redistributing cushions and mattresses for people who are at a high risk of developing ulcers.
Repositioning will also only help so much with pressure ulcers that have deteriorated into a shallow blister (category two), a deep wound through several layers of skin (category three), and a very deep wound that can extend into the muscle (category four). Cleaning and dressing wounds regularly, while relieving pressure often are key to treating more severe pressure ulcers.
There are many products available to help with the discomfort and treatment process of pressure ulcers at all stages, including:
- Barrier creams: Creams and ointments are typically ineffective for pressure ulcers, but care teams may recommend barrier creams for wounds related to incontinence.
- Bedding: Using innovative low-friction bedding can help prevent shear stress while repositioning, reducing the risk of skin damage due to friction.
- Booties: Low-friction booties can reduce the shear stress placed on pressure ulcers affecting the heel, making it less likely that skin will break due to friction.
- Cushions: Foam cushions can help redistribute pressure from affected areas and can be placed in bed or on the seats of wheelchairs.
- Mattresses: Various mattress types are available for people at risk of pressure ulcer development, the most sophisticated of which uses a pump system to regulate air flow into the mattress.
- Undergarments: Low-friction undergarments perform like the bedding and booties; regulating friction between skin and a contacting surface to reduce the risk of pressure ulcer development.
Always consult your care team before investing in one of the above solutions, as they may not be appropriate to your condition.
Treating Pressure Ulcers with Parafricta
Parafricta offers a one-of-a-kind low-friction fabric for bedding, booties, and undergarments that are designed specifically to help in preventing and treating pressure ulcers. You can learn more about how this technology works in our previous blog post: Introducing Parafricta Low-Friction Fabric.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from pressure ulcers, contact a member of the Parafricta team today. We can talk you through how our fabric works, and help you decide on a product that is right for you.