Preventing Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers (also called bedsores) are injuries to skin and underlying tissue that result from pressure on the skin. Pressure ulcers most often develop over bony areas such as the heels, the back of the head, and the tailbone. Pressure ulcers are considered "never" events. In the overwhelming majority of cases, pressure ulcers are avoidable and are caused by negligence. When a patient is admitted to a hospital or nursing home, the patient's risk of developing pressure ulcers should be assessed. If the patient is at risk for developing pressure ulcers, the hospital or nursing home should develop an individualized pressure ulcer prevention plan. This plan should include a schedule for repositioning/turning the patient. The patient should be repositioned/turned every two years. The patient should also be placed on a specialty bed/mattress that reduces and redistributes pressure. Adequate nutrition is also essential to preventing pressure ulcers.