What is a Pressure Ulcer? 

 Pressure ulcers are painful areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue.  They often occur in areas where bones are close to the skin’s surface, such as the heels, hips, elbows, and coccyx.   

What are the causes? 

Pressure ulcers can happen to anyone; individuals have a higher chance of developing a pressure ulcer if: 

  • There is limited mobility and there is a difficulty in changing position regularly 
  • An individual is bedridden 
  • An individual uses a wheelchair for extended periods 
  • Have been seriously ill in intensive care or have recently had surgery 

What are the symptoms? 

Symptoms vary between individuals and the severity of the ulcer. However, the main symptoms are: 

  • Skin discolouration – the area may appear red or bluish in individuals with lighter skin tones and purple in individuals with brown or black skin tones 
  • Skin texture – the skin surrounding the ulcer may feel warm, spongy or hard 
  • Pain and itchiness – the individual experience pain and/ or itchiness surrounding the pressure ulcer 

Methods to ease symptoms 

The method of treating an ulcer depends on its severity. Some simple methods to relieve the pressure and stop new ones forming are: 

  • Helping an individual to change position and move regularly 
  • Sterile cleaning and dressings to protect the ulcer and help it heal 
  • Antibiotics if the ulcer has become infected