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Pressure Sores, Bedsores and Decubitus Ulcers

Pressure sores, bed sores and decubitus ulcers are painful, debilitating and are usually preventable. Use this guide to learn about pressure sores and their prevention. Pressure sores can develop very quickly ( 30 minutes or less) and may progress into a Stage 4 pressure ulcer. Preventing this from happening should be of primary concern for all caregivers.

Pressure sores and bed sores tend to develop on people who are confined to bed or chair. Most often they are first seen in the tailbone or ankle areas. Fortunately, the risk of developing bed sores can be reduced significantly. Preventing bedsores is the logical and most humane method you have of caring for those confined to a bed or wheelchair. Bedsores are unnecessary and, 95% of the time, can be prevented. – American Family Physician, October 1996: v54, n5, p1519 (14)

Pressure Sore Prevention Guidelines:

1. Take care of the skin:
Inspect the skin daily. Pay special attention to red areas and pressure points. Minimize moisture contact with the skin. Shear Comfort® Overlays reduce pressure and wick moisture away from the skin, keeping it dry.

2. Protect the skin from injury:
Avoid massaging skin over bony areas. Change body position at least every 2 hours- more frequently in a chair. Reduce friction ( rubbing) by lifting rather than dragging. Do not use donut shape cushions. These can increase the risk of getting pressure sores by reducing blood flow in the areas of contact with the cushion. If the patient is confined to bed, reduce pressure points with Shear Comfort® Overlays. The head of the bed should be raised as little as possible. When the head of the bed is raised above 30 degrees, the skin may slide over the bed surface, damaging skin and small blood vessels. Pillows or wedges should be used to keep knees and ankles from touching each other. Patients should avoid lying directly on the hip bone when lying on their side. Pillows and Shear Comfort® Overlays may help. If the patient is completely immobile, pillows should be put under their legs from mid-calf to ankle to keep heels off the bed. Never place pillows under the knees. This cuts off blood circulation. Use Shear Comfort® Overlays to protect the skin from injury.

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Shear Comfort Overlay

Shear Comfort® Overlay

3. Eat well:
Eat a balanced diet. Proteins and calories are very important for healthy skin. Healthy skin is less liable to be damaged.

4. Improve the patients ability to move:
A rehabilitation program can help some people gain movement and independence. The patient can help to prevent most pressure sores.

Pressure Sores, decubitus ulcers and bed sores may develop through 4 stages. Notify your medical practitioner and nursing staff if you notice any of the following:

Stage 1. You will notice redness of the intact skin. The skin is unbroken, but inflamed and may be painful and warm to the touch. You might also notice a change in the skin’s texture.

Stage 2. Here you will see the first sign of skin breakdown and partial skin loss. It will look like an abrasion, blister or shallow crater. The outer layer of the skin is broken, red and painful. Surrounding tissue may be pale, red or swollen.

Stages 3 & 4 result in ulcer production. The skin has broken down and there is extensive destruction or damage to the underlying muscle, bone or supporting structures. Ulcers are extremely difficult to heal and may take many months for complete repair.

Preventing the development of a pressure ulcer should be considered seriously. Bed sores, decubitus ulcers and pressure sores are unnecessary and can usually be prevented. Prevention is possible when you provide an environment for the patient that does not foster the formation of pressure sores. This environment can be produced by Shear Comfort® Overlays- FDA approved Medical Devices.


If a pressure sore has developed already, the best thing that you can do is to try to remove the cause of the bed sore. Pressure against the small blood vessels in the skin will cause them to collapse. Thus, blood flow to that area will cut off. Skin cells will be deprived of oxygen and nutrients and will die. The death of the skin is the beginning of what is recognised as a bed or pressure sore. To prevent this from happening, you must reduce the pressure on the skin. This can be achieved by lying/sitting on a Shear Comfort® Overlay.

Shear Comfort® Overlays wick moisture away from the skin; keeping it dry and firm. Moist skin is more likely to tear when a person moves. Shear Comfort® Overlays also reduce friction. If a person lies directly on a Shear Comfort® Overlay, skin abrasion and tears are less likely to happen.

Premium grade Shear Comfort® Overlays add comfort and an improved feeling of well-being to those confined to a bed or wheelchair. The 2004 clinical trial at the Royal Melbourne Hospital found that people placed on these Australian Medical Sheepskins had 58% fewer pressure sores than those placed on regular bed linen. For clinical trial details, click: Research

When a person rests on a Shear Comfort® Overlay, there are 3 continuous pressure sore prevention effects:

* Pressure reduction at the point of body contact with the sheepskin.
*.Reduction of friction and shearing forces which abrade and tear the skin.
* Prevention of the build-up of skin moisture.

Effective caregivers use Shear Comfort® Overlays to prevent or manage pressure sores.

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