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Pressure ulcers: Advice for patients and carers 

Pressure ulcers - 'Stop the pressure' logo

We are committed to preventing pressure ulcers and helping local patients, families or carers to manage pressure ulcers more effectively.

Pressure ulcers result in a marked reduction of quality of life for patients and can be painful and hard to heal. This creates significant difficulties for patients, as well as their families and carers.

This page contains information for carers and patients on how to help prevent pressure ulcers. Carers play a vital role in preventing pressure ulcers - as people who have frequent contact with the individual at risk - and so it is important they are aware of how they can help reduce and prevent pressure ulcers from occurring.

What is a pressure ulcer?

   Pressure ulcer information:

The facts about pressure ulcers:

  • Pressure ulcers can occur within a matter of hours for those at risk
  • Regular top to toe skin inspections are needed to help prevent pressure ulcers occurring. Look out for reddening that does not subside over bony areas.
  • Use the blanching / non-blanching technique to test for early pressure damage (see signs to watch out for below to demonstrate this simple technique)
  • Pressure ulcers in the NHS cost between £1.4 and £2.1 billion per year
  • A large amount of pressure ulcers are avoidable 
     

Risk factors include: 

  • Poor mobility - sitting or lying in one position for extended periods of time

  • Poor nutrition or hydration

  • Wheelchair users

  • Incontinence

  • Look out for red areas over bony prominences and take pressure off area:

A photo of a pressure ulcer
A reddened area over sacrum
An image of a pressure ulcer
Non-blanching area - demonstrating early stage pressure damage

Please note: The darker the skin, the harder pressure ulcers will be to detect.  In darker skin, feel for hardness or heat around the affected area.

   Useful links and resources:

Pressure ulcer mobile app 

  • PUinfo APP:  This free app is available to download on all Apple, Android and Windows platforms, and provides the user with excellent advice on the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers or ‘bed sores’ - including an alarm to remind you when to check pressure areas.  Simply search ‘PUinfo’ on your device’s app store or marketplace, and expert advice will be available to you.

  • HRCH Tissue Viability Service:  Find out more about our tissue viability service across Hounslow and Richmond  
        

Leaflets: 

 

Other resources: 

 

Pressure ulcer prevention champions

Do you want to be a carer pressure ulcer prevention champion? Contact the pressure ulcer lead nurse: pressureulcerpatrol.hrch.nhs.uk for more information. 

Twitter hashtags:

Join the conversation on pressure ulcers by searching for the following Twitter hashtags:

  • #iamacarer

  • #promptsskin

  • #stopthepressure