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Pressure sores - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Most pressure sores heal eventually, although it can take a long time. It's best to prevent them if at all possible.

If you get a pressure sore in hospital, it could delay your recovery and stop you from going home for a long time.

Pressure sores usually affect just your skin. But rarely, pressure also damages deeper tissues such as muscle. If these tissues die, a deep wound appears that may go down as far as the bone.

If you have to stay in a bed, chair, or wheelchair, a health care professional should visit you to assess your chances of getting a pressure sore.

If they think you are at risk of getting a pressure sore, your doctors and nurses should try hard to protect your skin by:[1]

  • Checking it regularly, or showing you or your carer how to do it

  • Shifting your position regularly, or showing you or a carer how to do it

  • Taking care not to rub or drag your skin when lifting you

  • Drawing up a timetable to help you keep moving

  • Using an extra supporting foam mattress, if you are in bed.

You can help yourself by:

  • Shifting your position regularly, if you can

  • Drinking plenty of liquids

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Stopping smoking, if you smoke.

Big pressure sores can be hard to treat. They may heal slowly if your body is already fighting another serious medical condition, such as a stroke. But there are plenty of different mattresses, dressings, and other treatments you can try. It's important that you or your carer discuss all the options with the health professionals looking after you.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which advises the government on health care in England and Wales, says you should be assessed within six hours if you go into hospital.[12]

Glossary

stroke

You have a stroke when the blood supply to a part of your brain is cut off. This damages your brain and can cause symptoms like weakness or numbness on one side of your body. You may also find it hard to speak if you've had a stroke.

For more terms related to Pressure sores

Citations

For references related to Pressure sores click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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