A pressure ulcer is an area of localised damage to the skin
and underlying tissue caused by pressure, shear, friction
or a combination of these (EPUAP 1998).
They are most likely to occur when
a hard bony area covered by a thin layer of tissue is in
contact with a hard surface, such as a bed, trolley, theatre
table, wheelchair etc.
The body can withstand high interface pressures
for a very short period of time.
It is when the pressure is not regularly relieved
that damage occurs and a pressure ulcer develops.
Elderly patiants, those with a
long term medical illness / disease / condition
are particularly vulnerable because their skin usually becomes
thinner and more fragile with age. Pressure sores can develop
in a matter of hours.
Decubitus ulcers can happen during hospitalization, in a
nursing home or in a community setting.