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A preview of Pressure Ulcers: Prevention and Treatment
In order to understand what we’re dealing with, let’s take a look at the title of this book. Pressure ulcers have been given many names – bedsores, skin ulcers, wounds, decubitus ulcers – but they all mean essentially the same thing. The important thing to understand is that the information in this book can help all these conditions.
WHO SHOULD BE READING THIS BOOK?
• You are a health care worker, care provider or support staff, and you want a comprehensive, easy to understand reference guide on all the issues.
• You are a health care professional and you want to help your patients understand and prevent pressure ulcers, or help in the healing process of existing pressure ulcers.
• Someone in your family has a pressure ulcer problem and you want to help.
• You are at risk of developing a pressure ulcer and you want to prevent it from happening.
BENEFITS OF READING THIS BOOK
• You will understand why a person can be at risk of developing pressure ulcers.
• You can actually prevent a pressure ulcer from occurring.
• You can avoid costly treatments by taking preventive action when the first signs of a pressure ulcer become evident.
• You can speed the healing process of the pressure ulcer.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT IS A TEAM EFFORT
The support worker or care – provider are the front line health workers, caring directly for patients, who are pivotal to the success of the prevention and treatment activities. There are also many other health professionals who are involved, such as, home care nurses, dietitians, family physicians and others.
It must be realized that this is a team effort and everybody should be working from the “same page”. Hopefully this book will provide the uniformity of information for the whole team, perhaps just basic information for the health care professionals but perhaps a little technical for the patient. With this in mind this book can be the catalyst for discussion and understanding.
How a person copes with a pressure ulcer or the threat of one developing can contribute significantly to a successful outcome. The nurse, support worker, care – provider and other members of the team all need the cooperation of the patient if the pressure ulcer is to be prevented or healed. Consequently taking an holistic approach of treating the whole patient with their involvement in care practices is very important.
Some diseases have a predictable outcome over time and there is little you can do except to try to improve the patient’s quality of life. Pressure ulcers, however, can be prevented and healing can be speeded up by following the instructions of the health care professional. So, when it comes to avoiding a pressure ulcer, prevention is the order of the day.
The major contributing factor of pressure ulcers is unequalized pressure creating an inadequate blood supply (known as ischemia) to the “at risk” skin area. However, there are many factors that, along with pressure, contribute to the formation of an ulcer. It is important to recognize the individuality of each case and, because of this, we have provided opportunities throughout this book to write down specific advice and treatment guidelines. Be sure to do this, and refer to your notes regularly.