It is often difficult to treat pressure ulcers because of lack of proper understanding of the complexities involved in the causes of breakdown of skin (Riordan and Voegeli, 2009). In this essay, strategies to assess, plan and prevent the development of pressure sores in an acute health care setting will be discussed.
Patients must be assessed for various extrinsic and intrinsic risk factors using a standardized protocol. While most of the pressure ulcers affect only the skin, severe forms of ulcers involve other structures like muscle, bone and tendons. Pressure ulcers develop because of sustained high pressure in an area of the body, mostly over the prominences of bones. Due to the raised pressure, the capillaries supplying blood supply to a particular region get compressed resulting in ischemia of the tissue (Riordan and Voegeli, 2009). Other than ischemia, thrombosis of the venous system and occlusion of the lymphatic vessels of the area also are affected because of pressure. All these eventually lead to increased permeability of the capillaries, interstitial edema and tissue death. Risk assessment tools are very important to prevent pressure ulcers and detect them in early stages and they must be applied as early as possible immediately after admission and reviewed frequently (Riordan and Voegeli, 2009). The most commonly employed risk assessment tools are Norton, Waterlow and Braden (Riordan and Voegeli, 2009) The most useful tool for risk assessment is Braden Scale A score of below 18 indicates significant risk for pressure sores with Braden scale (Ayello and Sibbald, (2008).
All staff members must be provided with the guidelines to prevent and manage pressure ulcers in a timely manner. Aides of the patients play an important role in monitoring for signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers even at early stages, thus, increasing the chances of detecting them in early stages. The key for effective prevention and management of