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Pressure Injury Prevention:  Handy Tips for people living with physical Disabilities

February 2, 2017

 

Research has identified that people living with a physical disability will incur at least one pressure injury during their life. Holistic Nursing Solutions is dedicated to bringing awareness on how you can maintain healthy skin and prevent tissue deformation, a factor major factor contributing to pressure injuries as you age with a physical disability.

 

Skin is the largest organ in the body and there are many causes for tissue deformation that lead to skin breakdown. Here are few tips we have learnt along our journey nursing people physical disabilities:

 

  • Assess your skin daily paying particular attention to bony prominences. If you can’t hold a mirror and require assistance ask a carer or family member to assist you.  Please remember your skin is your responsibility not your care teams! Take control and partake in routine inspections. Other tips include using your mobile phone device as a mirror through the camera or ask the person assisting you to record your skin and then review it;

  • A comprehensive health assessment with a qualified Rehabilitation health professional who specialises in your disability should be attended annually or as required if noticeable changes occur.  A comprehensive assessment should include bowel, bladder, skin, diet, equipment, transfers, care needs & requirements, mental and physical health to name a few;

  • Stay well hydrated;

  •  If you have scar tissue over any bony prominences. Please seek advice on a long term scar management plan and have regular skin reviews with a qualified health professional who specialises in your disability and scar management to optimise outcomes;

  • Understand and be able to identify what non blanching skin looks like;

  • If you find a non-blanching area, remove all pressure from the area immediately until the blanching resolves. If you are unsure call a health professional you trust to provide further guidance;

  • Stay away from hospitals!  If however you do require hospitalisation make sure you advocate for adequate skin management from the minute you arrive. This should include hydration, visual skin inspections and adequate support surfaces and equipment (eg cushions, mattresses, commodes, wheelchairs, walking aids);

  • Muscle wasting is common with ageing. Depending on the individuals age and age with a physical disability this may need to be monitored closely by a health professional as cells and skin tensile strength weakens.

 

We can all learn from each other so we would love for you to SHARE your tips on pressure injury prevention below in the comments.

 

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