Stop the pressure

It costs the NHS more than £3.8 million every day to treat pressure ulcers. But what are pressure ulcers? Lynne Moody, Executive Nurse explains:

A pressure ulcer is damage that occurs on the skin and underlying tissue.

They develop when the weight of the body presses down on skin combined with and friction, from a bed or wheelchair for example. The first sign that a pressure ulcer may be forming is usually discoloured skin, which may get progressively worse and eventually lead to an open wound. They tend to appear more when in areas like the bottom, heel, hip, elbow, ankle, shoulder, back and the back of the head.

Who can get them?

Anyone can get a pressure ulcer, but some people are more likely to develop one than others.

People may be at risk of getting a pressure ulcer if, for example, they:

  • have problems moving and cannot change position by themselves without help
  • cannot feel pain over part or all of their body
  • are incontinent
  • are seriously ill or undergoing surgery
  • have had pressure ulcers in the past
  • have a poor diet and don’t drink enough water
  • are very old or very young
  • have damaged their spinal cord and can neither move nor feel their
  • bottom and legs
  • are older people who are ill or have suffered an injury, for example a broken hip.

Richard's Story

Richard developed an avoidable pressure ulcer during respite at a nursing home. The experience has inspired him and his carer wife Doreen to help inform and educate -- in the hope that together we can eliminate avoidable pressure ulcers.

This is their story.

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