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What is a Pressure Sore?

A pressure sore, more properly known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are lesions caused by many factors such as: unrelieved pressure; friction; humidity; shearing forces; temperature; age; continence and medication; to any part of the body, especially portions over bony or cartilaginous areas such as sacrum, elbows, knees, ankles etc. (definition taken from Wikipedia).


Stages of Pressure Sores

Pressure sores are categorized by severity, from Stage 1 (earliest signs) to Stage IV (worst):
Stage I: A reddened area on the skin that, when pressed, is "nonblanchable" (does not turn white). This indicates that a pressure ulcer is starting to develop.
Stage II: The skin blisters or forms an open sore. The area around the sore may be red and irritated.
Stage III: The skin breakdown now looks like a crater where there is damage to the tissue below the skin.
Stage IV: The pressure ulcer has become so deep that there is damage to the muscle and bone, and sometimes tendons and joints.

Taken from : http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007071.htm


Risk Factors

You have increased risk factors for developing pressure sores if for example you are on bed rest, use a wheelchair full time, have fragile skin, have a chronic condition such as diabetes which prevents areas of the body from getting proper blood flow, if you are malnourished or have urinary or bowel incontinence. There are many other factors that can increase your risk of pressure sores. These may include how you transfer for example - if you constantly rub your buttocks on the wheel of your wheelchair your skin can breakdown. As another example if you are in bed with the head of the bed elevated past 30 degrees shearing can occur and might may get sores around your coccyx (or tailbone). If you cannot move yourself at night and do not have a suitable sleep surface you could also at risk for pressure sores.


How can Therapy First help?

Pressure sores can be life threatening. Our therapist can help you to problem solve how your sore/s occurred and find ways to reduce future risk and prevent further damage to your skin. We have pressure-mapping technology, which can provide you with a visual picture of what is happening between your skin and the surfaces you sit/lie on. We work closely with other medical professionals to ensure you get the treatment you require and can work with you to get your cushions and/or other surfaces changed or modified to prevent future problems. Having a wheelchair and cushion that fit you and meet your seating, positioning and pressure management needs are important parts of the assessments we provide. Assessing suitable support surfaces such as beds, commodes, vehicle seats to name a few are all a part of what we look at together with you. Assessing your transfers to different surfaces is also important to ensure your skin remains intact when you move. Our ultimate goal is to help you to minimize the risk of tissue damage and keep you healthy and functioning to the best of your ability.


What is a pressure sore?
http://www.spinal-injury.net/pressure-sores-sci.htm
The cost of pressure sores
http://www.preventpressureulcers.ca/decision-maker/decision-maker.html
For more information or to book an appointment contact us by phone at 204-612-0399 or by email at ot@therapyfirst.ca