Pressure care advice from the experts at Wenman Healthcare
It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure sore in any given year. This equates to an estimated £1.4 Billion annual cost to the NHS for treating them.
To try and prevent the formation of pressure sores, reduction of extrinsic factors such as pressure, shear and friction movements are paramount.
Pressure relief is generally gained through use of the following:
More about pressure cushions
Pressure cushions are primarily designed to reduce pressure on the sitting bones. They vary considerably in size, thickness, and firmness and can be made in a wide range of materials, based on factors such as the skin condition and weight of the user.
Basic cushions are commonly provided with a wheelchair to help minimise the risk of any pressure sores developing. As many of the clients using wheelchairs have lost some of the feeling in their legs, relatively inexpensive cushions, often made of a foam, can be a simple but effective way of reducing the risk of skin damage.
There are many forms of foam pressure products available, with different amounts of contouring and different sections which can be added to change the shape.
Clients who have a history of pressure sores or have poor skin condition are at a higher risk of having pressure sores in the future so a basic foam cushion would often not be suitable for them. For such higher risk clients, cushions containing air layers, gel layers, and softer foams are often provided. For example, the Invacare Flo-tech Solution cushion has a foam base, with a layer of gel sacs over where the ischial and sacral bones would sit.
There are also air only cushions for clients with very high risks of pressure sores. One example is the ROHO range of cushions made by Sumed. The cushions can be bought with different sections to inflate separately. This allows a particular section of the cushion to be higher or lower than the other sections, which can help with pelvic obliquities or other body asymmetries.
Pressure Relieving seating features on specialized seating on Powered Seats
To reduce the pressure risks of a client with a powered wheelchair or a rise and recline chair, there are features such as tilt and recline, and elevating leg rests. These can help to direct the pressure to a different area or to spread the pressure over a larger area, reducing the risk of a pressure build up in one place. This is done by adjusting the angle and position of the user. The most common function is tilt in space (TIS) which allows change in the orientation of the seat pan relative to the ground, while the seat to back angle remains constant. A small amount of tilt can significantly improve comfort but a minimum tilt of 30° is required to unload the sacrum and reduce pressure at the Ischial tuberosity's (sitting bones).
Wenman Healthcare's dedicated team are experienced in fitting Tilt in Space, Backrest Recline and Elevate Leg rests onto existing Power Chairs, as well as new ones. To book an initial assessment or for help and advice on reducing the risk of pressure sores please call the office on 01926 624432 or email [email protected]