Pressure Care – saving lives!

Michelle Brett, Occupational Therapist at Recovery Station provided an informative  in-service today on pressure care, updating our team on the latest evidence and best practice. Our team of therapists see first hand how pressure injuries can escalate quickly, cause discomfort, pain and can even result in deep wounds that may eventually result in death. But the good news is that 95% of pressure injuries are preventable.

Pressure injuries are defined here: “A pressure ulcer is a localised injury and/or damage to underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear.” (NPUAP/EPUAP/PPPIA, 2014).

Are you at risk?

For older people whose skin tends to be thinner and more delicate, increases the risk of developing a pressure injury, such as during a prolonged stay in bed or for those who are sedentary and sit for the majority of the day. People who use a wheelchair can also develop a pressure injury on the parts of the body where they rest against the chair. These may include the tailbone or buttocks, shoulder blades, spine and the backs of arms or legs.

Other risk factors for a pressure injury include:

  • poor physical condition
  • poor mental condition
  • immobility and paralysis
  • being restricted to either sitting or lying down
  • urinary and faecal incontinence
  • malnutrition and obesity
  • advanced age
  • smoking

The role of Occupational Therapists in pressure care is to help identify or manage pressure injuries. The Occupational Therapy role includes:

  • Assessment
  • Interventions: Education, Pressure relieving techniques, Equipment, Collaboration with health professionals

We also will look at factors like continence, nutrition, and time spent in stationary positions.  Occupational Therapy interventions include:

  • Completing a Waterlow assessment and skin inspection
  • Referral to community nurse for wound dressing if open pressure sore
  • Review of any equipment already in place or the trial/prescription of pressure care mattress/cushions
  • Liaise with community nurse on a regular basis
  • Education to the client and family/carer
  • Review of pressure relieving equipment you have put into place

Our team work in collaboration with other health professionals regarding pressure management of an individual (e.g. GP, community nursing, dietician). If you think you or someone you care about are at risk of pressure injuries please call us to discuss how we can help.