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Pressure Ulcers


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.


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