Soaring Cost of Treating Patients with Bedsores; Pressure Ulcers Can Be Uncomfortable at Best and Life-Threatening at Worst. Here, Georgina Passmore, an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Gives Her Expert Advice on How They Can Be Avoided

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 27, 2020 | Go to article overview

Soaring Cost of Treating Patients with Bedsores; Pressure Ulcers Can Be Uncomfortable at Best and Life-Threatening at Worst. Here, Georgina Passmore, an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Gives Her Expert Advice on How They Can Be Avoided


Pressure ulcers are painful, distressing and can have a dramatic effect on a person's life. Pressure damage can occur quickly, sometimes within hours, depending on the individual's risk factors. It is therefore important that preventive actions start as soon as possible.

In Wales, pressure ulcers affected 8.9% of all in hospital patients (Clark, Semple, Irvins et al, 2017), and the cost of pressure ulcers is significant both to the patient and to the health service.

Pressure ulcers can be painful, decrease quality of life and increase hospital stays. In some cases, pressure ulcers can contribute to death, caused by infections of the ulcers leading to septicaemia.

In the UK Dealey et al. (2012) reported that the cost of treating a single pressure ulcer is PS1,214 and this cost rises with the severity of the ulcer up to PS14,108.

What are pressure ulcers? Pressure ulcers can affect any area of the body where bones are close to the skin such as the back of the head, shoulder blades, tailbone and heels.

The skin around these bony areas are prone to injury if pressure is applied for a period of time.

Pressure ulcers can develop when a person cannot move or reposition themselves regularly.

How do they occur? Pressure ulcers are more commonly known as pressure sores or bedsores.

Pressure on these areas can squash the small blood vessels leading to a reduction in blood flow to the skin.

The lack of blood flow means oxygen and nutrients cannot reach the area and waste cannot be removed.

If the pressure is not removed, all these factors can cause the skin to break down and a wound to develop.

Pressure ulcers usually affect people who are bed bound or who sit in a chair for long periods of time.

This may be due to an acute injury such as a fall or long-term conditions such as paralysis.

At-risk groups include: | patients who have problems moving or changing position without help; | who cannot feel pain over part or all of their body; | who are seriously ill; | have had a pressure ulcer before; | have a poor diet and don't drink enough water; | have problems with memory and understanding (such as with dementia) | have an injury which affects how they move.

However it is important to note that not all pressure ulcers are avoidable. Pressure ulcers can develop despite appropriate interventions by healthcare providers.

How can they be prevented? Pressure ulcer formation can depend on the intensity and duration of pressure.

On a day-to-day basis, reducing the risk of pressure depends on the level of mobility of the individual. …

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Soaring Cost of Treating Patients with Bedsores; Pressure Ulcers Can Be Uncomfortable at Best and Life-Threatening at Worst. Here, Georgina Passmore, an Advanced Paramedic Practitioner for the Welsh Ambulance Service, Gives Her Expert Advice on How They Can Be Avoided
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