Effects of Immobility

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by cheynowat
Last updated 7 years ago

Health & Fitness

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Effects of Immobility

An area of skin that breaks down when something keeps rubbing or pressing against the skin. A pressure ulcer is an acute ischemic damage to tissue caused by force on the skin. It is a localized injury usually over a bony part of the body as a result of pressure and shear. Pressure on the skin causes minimized blood flow to the area. Pressure sores are mainly caused by lying in bed.

What are pressure ulcers?


Symptoms include red skin that gets worse over time. The area forms a blister, then an open sore. It commonly occurs on a bony prominence. Deep tissue injury ulcers may be purple or maroon. It may be an area of skin or blood filled blister caused by damage to the soft tissue from pressure. This area may feel sore, firm, mushy, warmer, or cooler than the surrounding area.

DIAGNOSISPressure ulcers are easily diagnosed by looking at them. The doctor will determine the size and depth of the sore. The doctor may order blood tests to assess the person’s overall nutritional status.

HOW IS IT CAUSED?Pressure sores are caused by reduced movement, pressure, and shear. Normal blood circulation relies on muscle activity. Immobility causes minimized blood flow to the area. Without enough blood flow, the skin can die because the skin cells and tissue are deprived of important nutrients.

PREVENTIONSmall bodily movements are sufficient to give adequate pressure relief. The person should change positions at least every two hours. When moving, make sure skin is lifted clear of the bed or chair so you do not rub the skin. All patients need a mattress that provides comfort. Make a plan of care by assessing the person’s individual risk factors.

TREATMENTSOnce pressure ulcers have developed, the skin breaks down and creates a wound. There is a risk that it can get infected. It can take a long time for pressure sores to heal. They can be difficult to heal after stage two. In the early stages, the pressure ulcers usually heal by themselves after the pressure has been removed. If the skin is broken down it may need to have a dressing applied to protect that area. A dressing will keep it clean, moist, and help it heal. There are different types of dressings; the one to use depends on the wound. Change it as needed. Some dressings help remove dead tissue but sometimes a specialist may need to cut dead areas away. Dead tissue may be removed with a scalpel. This is called debridement.

Patients in ongoing care are often at risk because of their age and frailness. Risk assessment should be a continuing part of daily care. Prevention of pressure ulcers is very important the goal is to promote circulation and decrease pressure. It is the whole health care team’s responsibility for preventing and managing pressure damage. Recognizing potential consequences of pressure damage promotes prevention strategies and prevents additional complications.


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