A pressure wound or pressure sore is basically an area of the skin that breaks down whenever something constantly presses against or rubs on the skin. This decreases blood flow to that area and without adequate blood, the skin could die and form a sore.
Pressure Wound Repair
If properly cared for, stage I or stage II sores will typically heal. However, stage III and stage IV sores are more difficult to treat and could take quite a while to heal. Below are ways for pressure wound repair at home:
Relieve the Pressure
To relieve pressure, use special foam cushions, pillows or mattress pads. Have a discussion with your health care provider regarding the choices that would be most suitable.
Care for the Wound as Instructed
To prevent infection, keep the wound clean. The wound should be cleaned every time a dressing is changed. For stage I sores, mild soap and water can be used to gently wash the area. If necessary, use a moisture barrier to safeguard the area against bodily fluids.
Salt water should be used to clean stage II pressure sores to eliminate loose and dead tissue; your healthcare provider may recommend a particular cleanser. Avoid skin-damaging iodine or hydrogen peroxide cleansers.
Use a special dressing to cover the sore to guard against infection and help to keep the sore moist for expedited healing. Ask your provider about the type of dressing that is best for you. Based on the stage and size of the wound, you may use a gauze, film, foam, gel or other type of dressing. Typically, stage III and IV sores are treated by a healthcare practitioner.
Change Positions Frequently
For the wheelchair bound, strive to change position every 15 minutes. For the bed bound, strive to be moved around every 2 hours.
Focus on Your Health
Consume healthy foods as healing can be expedited by getting the right nutrition. In addition, you should get a lot of sleep and lose excess weight. Also ask your doctor whether it is alright to do light exercises or gentle stretches to improve circulation.
Avoid Friction or Further Injury
This can be avoided by powdering your sheets lightly. In doing this, your skin will not rub on the sheets while in bed. You should also do your best to prevent slipping or sliding when you are changing positions. Additionally, endeavor to avoid positions that place pressure on the wound.
You should also promote healthy skin by ensuring it is clean and moisturized. Do a daily check on your skin for pressure wounds. Ask a family member or caregiver to check areas you cannot see. If the pressure wound changes or new ones are formed, tell your healthcare provider.
When to Consult a Physician
Call your doctor if an open sore or blisters occur. Call right away if there are signs of infection like:
• Pus coming from the sore
• The sore has a foul odor
• Tenderness and redness appears around the sore
• Skin surrounding the sore is swollen and/or warm