Pressure ulcers are a severe health issue for patients with spinal cord injury and lead to impaired quality of life for most people and their family. Moreover, they are among the first reasons for readmission and one of the most important complications in spinal cord injury.
We should pay attention to any change and prevent pressure ulcers since their development may dramatically change the lifestyle and quality of the patient. Pressure ulcers develop quickly and present a long-term healing process because of the difficulty in moving the patient to different positions and applying pressure relief manoeuvres. This means that the initial compression, which is generated in muscle and tendon structures of a specific body part, has to be maintained.
At Humexe we would like to highlight the importance of prevention in the treatment of spinal cord injuries.
Causes and symptoms of pressure ulcers (PUs)
Pressure ulcers’s main cause is the constant pressure applied to the skin, this may lead to a reduction of small blood vessels. Under normal circumstances, a person usually changes position while sleeping to avoid some body parts of becoming “numb”. This is not the case for patients with impaired mobility who cannot change position by themselves and therefore maintaining the same body position for a long time. This prolonged pressure against the skin limits blood flow through the vessels and prevents the arrival from oxygen causing tissue death. For that reason, people with impaired mobility are high risk patients in terms of developing this type of ulcers.
Preventing pressure ulcers (PUs)
This medical condition needs constant treatment and presents a very slow healing process. There are some prevention strategies that can be adopted for patients with aid needs.
What can be done to prevent pressure ulcers?
Inspect the skin at least once a day, paying extra attention to the most likely body parts to develop ulcers.
- Keep the skin clean and dry, using very moisturizing creams.
- Keep a balanced diet, healthy habits and correct hydration.
- Do not rub protruding bony parts and do not apply alcohol or perfume.
- Change position every two or three hours
- Select some pressure-relief objects such as cushions, toppers and air mattresses. These objects help by preventing and healing pressure ulcers.
- Using a special protection is recommended for the most likely body parts to develop ulcers.
We hope this post helped you towards a better understanding of the importance of preventing pressure ulcers (PUs) in patients with a spinal cord injury. If you would like to read some more information on this subject, this post Understanding the spinal cord injury is also available for you.