Pressure Injury 

Pressure ulcer on the skin

A pressure injury (decubitus ulcer) starts as a red, tender area on skin (pressure sore). It's caused by lying or sitting on a bony area for long periods of time without turning. This reduces the amount of blood flow to that part of the skin. Pressure injuries usually occur on the lower back, buttocks, or heels. They affect people who spend most or all of their time in bed. These pressure injuries take a long time to heal, depending on how big they are and how deep they are.

If a pressure injury becomes infected, it will cause redness in the skin around the pressure injury. Pus will drain from the wound. If not treated early, an infection from a pressure injury can spread to the bloodstream or nearby bone.

Home care

Follow these guidelines to help you care for your wound at home:

  • Look at your pressure injury every day with good lighting to watch for signs of infection. At the same time, check other skin pressure points for early signs of a skin changes.

  • Change positions every few hours. This will let blood flow to the pressure areas. This is essential for healing to occur. A foam, water, or air mattress or gel pad will help reduce the pressure on the skin.

  • Your healthcare provider may give you a special skin covering that stays in place on the pressure injury. If a simple bandage is used, change it daily. Clean the pressure injury with sterile saline or another solution your doctor tells you to use. Pat dry. Apply any prescribed lotion or cream. Cover with a clean, dry gauze pad.

  • Bed linens should be kept clean and dry.

  • Try to keep from soiling the pressure injury with feces or urine. If this isn’t possible, keep the time of contact with the feces or urine to a minimum. Do this by keeping the wound covered and clean.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Redness around the wound that gets worse

  • Pain or swelling near the wound that gets worse

  • Pus drains from a wound

  • Foul or increasing odor from the wound

  • Unexplained fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

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