One of the side effects that occur in an adult who is limited in his movement is the ulcer’s wound, which besides his pain and vision, is also life-threatening if he is not treated. Therefore we will try to understand what causes it to form and how we can assist preventing pressure ulcers wounds and how we can treat them.
What is pressure ulcer?
Pressure ulcers are open wounds in the skin caused by prolonged or repeated action of applying force on the same skin area. In these cases, the body organ that absorbs most of the body weight sitting or lying down and when the body is not in motion for a period of about two hours, may develop a wound from the pressure.
The Muscle tissue is the first tissue to be damaged during the formation of a pressure wound, probably because it is the main oxygen consumer in the body.
Irritable damage to the muscle may occur within less than two hours after the pressure is applied, but the damage will be reflected through the skin only after 10 more hours. Hence, the great importance of diagnosis and treatment the wounds as early as possible.
Most of the wounds appear in the lower body, with most of them appearing in the pelvis, as well as on the ankles, elbows, spine, and knees. Untreated pressure sores can cause internal infections and lack of treatment can cause death.
Common causes of pressure wounds are related to the pressure of body tissues against an object on which we sit or lie: A sheet, mattress, chair or wheelchair can cause a pressure wound if the person sits or lies on it for a long time without turning him over and without the object being well fitted to the body.
Other problems like a decrease in the number of proteins or a weakening of the immune system also can contribute to an increase in the number of infections and the formation of pressure wounds. Therefore, anyone who takes care of a patient who is lying or sitting for a long time must move them and adjust the object in which he lies or sits.
Ranking the pressure ulcer
We can divide them into four ranks according to the level of tissue damage in each of them:
- Level 1 – Immediate reduction of pressure after prolonged pressure may cause necrosis. In this situation, the affected area will have inflammatory symptoms and will be warmer than in non-infected areas. Skin tone will be brighter to white completely due to ischemia (lack of blood flow and oxygen to the tissue) that caused the exertion of pressure.
- Grade 2 – Decreased thickness of the skin, will be seen as a superficial wound with a pinkish tinge. Expresses a condition of damage to the epidermis and dermis.
- Grade 3 – Almost complete skin loss and even deeper tissue damage to tissues damaged in grade 2. However, no exposure of tendons bones or muscle.
- Grade 4 – Total skin loss with exposure to tendons, bones or muscles. A scab will develop in the area of the wound, and the exposed bones will be destroyed or moved.
The pressure ulcers are divided into two main types – acute and chronic. Severe wounds are wounds that go through and heal within a few days, sometimes with proper medical treatment and sometimes even the body heals himself.
Severe wounds are caused by sunburn or burns from hot things, as well as injuries and cuts caused by surgery. In these cases, it is possible to use preparations that relieve the pain, can be rinsed in water and wait several days for the wound to pass.
Chronic wounds are more severe wounds that persist over time and are caused by prolonged lying or sitting.
Why do elderly people are in the greatest risk group for pressure ulcers?
The greatest risk group for pressure ulcers is people with immune system damage. This particularly refer to elderly people whose health has deteriorated and who spend most of the day sitting in a chair or lying in bed. They cannot move alone and do not always feel the resulting gangrene. In addition, in old age the skin is less thick and the rate of regeneration is much slower.
In people who are not physically or cognitively disabled, pressure sores do not usually occur; Feedback systems, voluntary and involuntary, are triggered and change position. Changing the position results in the transfer of pressure to another location, long before any ischemic damage is caused.
How can we prevent pressure ulcers?
The preventive treatment for pressure ulcers involves turning the paralyzed patient to the other side, at a frequency of one to two hours. Also, it’s important to keep feces and urine away from the wound to reduce the risk of infections.
There are several principles for the prevention of pressure sores, that can be applied at home:
- Change posture every two hours both in case of sitting or lying down.
- Lying in bed at an angle not greater than 30 degrees.
- Using Seat cushions and egg matting mats are recommended to avoid pressure wounds.
- wheelchair adjustment: is recommended to buy a chair that is tilted at a 30-degree angle and in the case of a wheelchair – to adjust the seating system and release pressure from the bottom.
- Daily self-examination of places in the body that pose a risk.
- Maintaining personal hygiene while emphasizing the perfection and cleanliness of the skin.
- Use of skin protection – to keep his hygiene and his skin from moisture and acidity.
- It’s recommended to consult Professional help regard accessories, posture changes, daily schedule, etc.
Methods of Treatment of pressure ulcers:
Treatment of pressure ulcers can be long and complex. A wound created within two hours may accompany the patient for a long time and must be treated for a long time. Treatment can be done in a number of ways, at home or in the hospital.
Closure of a pressure wound is very important to avoid unnecessary complications or contamination of the area as a result of tissue scrubbing each other.
At home, patient can use a device called VAC, a small device that puts pressure on the wound and inhales the secretions. The device helps reduce edema and improves the flow of oxygen and blood into the wound. During treatment the patient must be connected to the device for 22 hours a day, for up to a month.
The method is to reduce the existing pressure on the wound as much as possible. To this end, the position in which the patient is lying or sitting should be changed, as should the proper nutrition of proteins and the provision of antibiotics.
It is advisable to consult and ask the care personnel treating your parents to demonstrate actions that can sometimes prevent the formation or aggravation of pressure ulcers.
Skin Savers: Preventing & Treating Pressure Ulcers
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