The Pressure’s On…

Sue Girolami, RN, BSN, WOCN discusses the upcoming annual

Worldwide Pressure Injury Prevention Day

Yes, it’s that time of year again to focus our attention on ‘keeping the pressure off’ . Worldwide Pressure Injury Prevention Day is November 20, 2019. Another chance to increase international awareness through education of all healthcare professionals as well as patients, families and significant others regarding steps to protect vulnerable individuals with illnesses/conditions that place them at risk of developing tissue injury secondary to temporary or permanent altered mobility.

For the extremely fragile this can be an extended visit to an emergency room where they may be lying on a stretcher for hours awaiting testing and treatments, for others it may be long surgical procedures, weakened or unconscious states that limit or prevent movement, repeated confinement to chair/bed/procedural tables/transport stretchers, constrictive devices/casts/braces. There are a myriad of causes that contort and compress skin and underlying tissues causing painful damage and resultant wounds, so it takes an army of soldiers to remain vigilant watching over those that cannot perceive injury and spontaneously protect skin under attack by removing the potential hazards.

While undernutrition, dehydration, heat, wetness, impaired metabolism/oxygen/blood flow may heavily contribute to skin stamina,  pressure/shear/friction are ultimately the culprits that result in the skin’s demise.

Managing environmental conditions then is key to preventing tissue trauma through elimination of concentrated forces on any given body part and equalizing weight distribution when sitting or lying. Surfaces that conform, support, adjust, manage wetness & heat, and yield ergonomic body alignment can provide both maximum comfort as well as weight load distribution.

There is no evidence that air, foam, gel or combination products are superior to each other. Structure and integrity of these materials varies widely making comparisons even in each category a difficult if not impossible task. Clinical evidence is currently the most reliable source for discerning products that provide observed/beneficial results for prevention and healing of pressure injury.

While chair and bed surfaces are the most obvious contact surfaces that should be investigated in your environmental queries for managing pressure injury, stretchers, tables, transport devices, dialysis recliners and any other surfaces an individual is exposed during their course of impaired mobility deserve attention also to ensure vulnerable individuals are protected 24/7.

Happy sleuthing and may the force be with you.

Sue Girolami, RN, BSN, WOCN

#pressureinjury #supportsurfaces


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