The Mis-Management of Pressure Sores

Care Homes are increasingly coming under scrutiny for failing to prevent and manage pressure sores in their residents.  It is estimated that just under 500,000 people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer in a year.

Pressure sores commonly affect the elderly who are frail and due to restricted mobility spend a considerable amount of time in a chair or bed.

These residents are vulnerable and often cannot meet their own needs. They are reliant upon the staff who are often inadequately trained, poorly managed and overworked.

Pressure sores develop as a result of unrelieved pressure on tissue over bony prominences. The most common sites of pressure sores are the hips, buttocks, heels, shoulder blades and the small of the back. The pressure prevents the blood from circulating and the tissue dies. An early sign of a pressure sore is discolouration of the skin.

If intervention is not early and appropriate the sores can become deep and infected leading to life-threatening complications, such as blood poisoning, gangrene and sadly death.

Care Homes should be regularly risk assessing their residents for pressure sores, frequently repositioning those who are at risk, using equipment such as pressure relieving mattresses and cushions and not delaying any necessary referral to a Tissue Viability Nurse.

Unfortunately we are coming across more and more elderly patients who are receiving what can only be described as disgraceful and shocking care in homes and increasingly families are contacting us regarding relatives who have developed pressure sores as a result.