Pressure Ulcer Relief strategies
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Pressure Ulcer Glossary of Terms
Wound Care Information
Skin Care & Nutrition
Pressure Ulcer (Bed Sore) Care
Wound Care: Negative Pressure Therapy
Wound Care: Nonsurgical Options
Pressure Ulcer Relief strategies
Pressure Ulcers-Preparing & Changing Dressings
Medicare Guidelines - Wound Care Coverage
Wound Care Types of Dressings
A Pressure Ulcer Assessment Tool
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Pressure Relief
  1. Watch and protect areas of the body most at risk for damage from pressure (bedsores) - bony prominences, like the heels, the knees, the hips, the elbows, the shoulder blades and the back of the head.
  2. When in bed, turn or shift at least every two hours. Use the free Turning Clocks from WCD to customize your own turning schedule. When sitting, shift the weight at least every 15 minutes.
  3. Use pillows, turning devices and other aides to reduce friction and shear (when a bony part stretches the skin against a hard surface) when moving.
  4. Standard mattresses do not relieve pressure enough to prevent or treat pressure ulcers. Consider the use of a mattress overlay or a mattress replacement for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers.
  5. Ask your healthcare professional to help you select the most appropriate pressure relieving devices for the bed and chair/wheelchair.
  6. Foam mattress overlays under 4" do not provide enough pressure relief for the treatment or prevention of pressure ulcers (comfort only).Foam products loose their effectiveness after several months and will need to be replaced.
  7. Learn how to do a "hand check" from your healthcare professional to be sure that your pressure relieving devices are adequate. About one inch or more of uncompressed support surface between the hand and the patient is considered good support.
  8. If the person has a pressure ulcer, keep direct pressure off the area as much as possible.
  9. Avoid friction and shear by raising the head of the bed only up to 30 degrees. Less is better.
  10. Do not use donut-shaped (ring) cushions of any kind - they reduce blood flow to the area inside the ring and impede healing.
  11. Use pillow or small foam pads to keep knees and ankles from touching each other.
  12. Be patient and gentle. It may take weeks to months for a pressure ulcer to heal. Gentle turning and repositioning helps prevent pressure ulcers and optimizes the healing of existing ulcers.