Are Pressure Sores Becoming A Bigger Problem Amongst The Elderly?

Pressure sores are fast becoming a more common ailment amongst individuals living in the UK. 1 in 20 hospital admissions will end up with an individual developing a pressure sore. It is also estimated that in the space of a year approximately half a million people living in the UK will be affected by pressure sores. Pressure sores are most likely to develop amongst individuals who are over 70.

At present there is an ageing population in the UK, resulting in more and more individuals requiring additional help and support to maintain their health and general well-being. Pressure sores can become a common ailment of the elderly because of individuals becoming less mobile and spending more time sitting or in bed. Pressure sores can cause a number of long-term problems with elderly individuals, particularly if they are left untreated.

What Is A Pressure Sore?

Pressure sores are a type of injury that causes the skin and underlying tissue to break down on an area of the body, where the skin is placed under pressure. They develop when a large amount of pressure is placed on a particular area over a short period of time, or when low levels of pressure is placed on an area for longer periods of time. Pressure sores occur because the flow of blood to an area of the body is disrupted, and the affected area of skin becomes starved of nutrients and oxygen causing the skin to break down. This leads to a sore forming.

How Can Pressure Sores Be Treated And Prevented?

There are a number of ways in which pressure sores can be treated. For example dressings, creams and gels can be used, as they are designed to speed up the healing process and relieve pressure around the affected area.

In extreme cases pressure sores may require surgery. In cases where surgery is required, the main aim is to improve the appearance and hygiene and appearance of the sore, as well as preventing and treating any infection that may be present. Reconstruction of the area may also be a viable surgical route. Reconstruction of an area affected by a pressure sore involves using some of the individuals muscle, and skin or other tissue to cover the wound. This can be an effective procedure because it provides a cushion to the affected bone.

Other treatments include: pain management, antibiotics, a healthy and well balanced diet, and muscle spasm relief. Muscle spasm relief is the use of muscle relaxants (e.g. Valium), as these can prevent muscle spasms, which in turn will aid the healing process of any sores that may have been worsened as a result of friction related to muscle spasms.
Home Care And Pressure Sores

Pressure sores tend to indicate that an individual has a lack of mobility and this in turn means that they may not be able to complete many daily living tasks unaided. As a result of this many individuals may become more and more dependent on their relatives for supporting them to complete tasks required for daily living (e.g. meal preparation, eating, washing, dressing, etc.).
This can have a significant impact on family members as they may feel pressured, or become increasingly tired as a result of having to help relatives all of the time. Implementing a home care package could help a family significantly. This is because a care worker would be able to visit the individual at home and provide them with the help and support that they need in order to complete daily living tasks.

Care workers would also be able to play an active role in monitoring and treating pressure sores, by making sure that they are always kept clean and dry in order to aid healing and prevent infection. In cases where individuals are bed bound care workers would also be able to play an active role in preventing bed sores by making sure that they are regularly turned, and kept comfortable, without causing pressure to build in any area of the body. The implementation of a care package could also be very beneficial to an individual’s family, and this is because it will relieve the pressure on them to provide a relative with personal care, and this in turn will provide them with more time to spend quality time with their family member.

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