Pressure Care: Pressure sores, bed sores, or ‘decubitus ulcers’, are not only uncomfortable for the sufferer, but in some cases can even lead to amputation of affected limbs. They cost a great amount of money, time and effort to heal.
Pressure ulcers are prevalent in the range of 4.5% to 27% according to Australian acute care hospital studies. Most pressure wounds are preventable.
Pressure care is an important area in all aspects of health management, including aged care, hospital, rehabilitation, and home care.
A person’s quality of life is significantly reduced by pressure ulcers resulting in increased length of hospital stay and higher cost of care.
The use of pressure therapy aids in pressure care can assist in the prevention and management of pressure ulcers. Such aids include:
- Alternating Air Pressure Overlays: these consist of a number of air filled cells that aternatively deflate and inflate to reduce pressure on particular body areas, used in cin conjunction with a standard mattress.
- Alternating Pressure Mattress Replacement Systems: usually higher volume air cells with an alternating function that replace a standard mettress.
- Convoluted Foam Overlays (egg crate overlays): contoured foam in the shape of an upside down egg crate which go on top of a mattress and under the bottom sheet and designed to raise the legs and aid circulation
- Convoluted Foam Mattress: a full depth foam sandwich mattress to replace a standard mattress, increases air circulation and used for low to medium risk care.
- Australian Medical Sheepskins: these are high quality sheep skins that have been tanned and processed to Australian Standard AS 4480.1. The skins provide a low friction interface to prevent pressure ulcers and absorb moisture. They can be laundered frequently at 80o C and are machine washable.
Where there is a lesser need for bed care, cushions can provide support and make seating more comfortable, especially when using a wheelchair or sitting for long periods of time. Specialised pressure cushions are designed to disperse weight and are used to both provide comfort and prevent the development of pressure areas that could lead to pressure sores from periods of extended sitting.
- air cushions
- gel cushions and bead cushions
- convoluted foam cushions
- foam cushions
Low level pressure cushions are suitable for those at a low risk of developing pressure sores. The risk level of pressure sores is determined using a care assessment that takes into consideration the person’s body mass index, continence, skin type, mobility, gender, age and nutritional status to determine care guidelines.
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