Pressure Sores, Bed Sores, Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are areas of tissue/skin destruction caused by pressure and friction. They usually develop over bony areas such as the heels, sacrum/lower back, back of the head, elbows and shoulder blades.
Pressure sores begin when the cells in the skin die when they are deprived of blood flow to the area. Blood supply is interrupted when skin is compressed between bone and an exterior surface — even soft surfaces, including a bed, pillow, or wheel chair for an extended period of time.
For example, people that are restricted to a bed need their head elevated approximately 30 degrees to prevent aspiration (a condition where food or liquids are breathed into the lungs). However, elevating the head 30 degrees increases the pressure on the back of the head and the sacrum.
The elderly nursing home population is very susceptible to developing pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, pressure sores, and decubitus ulcers. Bed sores are a serious medical condition that can be life threatening as bed sores can lead to sepsis (blood infection), gangrene, osteomyelitis (bone infection), joint infection, MRSA (bacterial infection) or necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) all of which can require amputation of an extremity or cause death.
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