There are several forms of treatment procedures for pressure ulcers, such as, changing positions and using dressings to reduce any pressure on the skin. In some cases, when the ulcer is at its worst, surgery may be required.
Changing position, also known as bed rolling, is a common form of treatment. This is something that can be done at home, to avoid placing unwarranted pressure on the areas that are vulnerable to ulcer formation. In addition, regular movements also prevent pressure ulcers from developing. It is most likely to occur when the person is static for long periods during the day.
Dressings can be applied to pressure ulcers in order to accelerate healing and even to protect it as it can become susceptible to infection. The choice of dressings varies with the form of ulcer. There are two common forms of dressings, specifically used for pressure ulcers. The first is an alginate dressing. This is a mixture of seaweed, sodium and calcium and is used to help repair the wound. The dressing acts as a moist layer, promoting autolysis as well as displaying haemostatic characteristics, which help place pressure on the tissues.
The second dressing is a hydrocolloid dressing that consists of a gel, which promotes skin regeneration in the ulcer. If the pressure ulcer is infected, then the doctor can prescribe antiseptic cream or antibiotics, to help the immune system protect the body. Like the alginate dressing, it promotes a moist environment to stimulate the ‘autolytic debridement of necrotic tissues’ (D.K. Langemo 2010)
In addition to these dressings, hydrogels and silver dressings also exist as possible options to heal pressure ulcers. Silver dressings utilise silver, which has been added as an extra component to many dressings due to its ability to act as a bacteriostatic agent. A bacteriostatic agent is known to prevent any bacteria growth without endangering any surrounding tissues. Hydrogels mimic the behaviour of the alginate and hydrocolloid dressings in ‘facilitating autolytic debridement’. (D.K. Langemo 2010) They are hydrophilic polymers that can absorb fluids, however they have to be used in conjunction with another form of dressing. Hydrogels are susceptible to any bacterial attack on the wound as its ability to stick to the wound is poor, allowing room for bacteria to enter. Instead, its primary function is to aid in the control of pain and inflammation. (Bope and...