The prevention and management of pressure ulcers

Academic Article


  • Pressure ulcers are a common problem for older persons. Complications associated with pressure ulcers include infection and even death for some patients. Pressure is the primary pathogenic factor, but shearing forces, friction, and moisture are also important. Immobility, nutritional status, and age-related factors seem to be significant risk factors. Preventive care includes use of assessment tools to identify high risk patients, frequent repositioning, air or foam mattresses that reduce pressure over bony prominences, as well as careful attention to optimizing the overall patient condition. When pressure ulcers do develop, the treatment plan should include adequate nutrition including protein, vitamin C, and zinc supplements as indicated; systemic antibiotics for sepsis, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, or the prevention of bacterial endocarditis; and local wound care that eliminates necrotic tissue, decreases bacterial load, and provides a physiologic, pressure-free environment allowing the wound to heal. Specialized beds may be considered in some patients, particularly those with larger ulcers. Surgery is an option in older persons who are operative candidates. For some patients with pressure ulcers, appropriate treatment goals may focus on providing comfort rather than curing the ulcer.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Goode PS; Allman RM
  • Start Page

  • 1511
  • End Page

  • 1524
  • Volume

  • 73
  • Issue

  • 6