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Pressure Ulcer Prevention


Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Your care team will discuss with you the best way to prevent pressure ulcers and will set up a treatment plan based on your individual circumstances. However, you may find the information below helpful.

Quit smoking

Giving up smoking is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure ulcers. Smoking reduces the levels of oxygen in your blood, and  weakens your immune system, which increases your risk of developing pressure ulcers.

Position Changing

Regular and frequent changes to your position is one of the most effective ways of preventing pressure ulcers, especially if one has already developed. Changing position helps to avoid putting further pressure on the ulcer, and gives the wound the best chance of healing.

A general rule for wheelchair users would be to change their position at least once every 15 to 30 minutes. People who are confined to bed need to change positions at least once every couple of hours.

Once a pressure ulcer has developed, to give the wound the best chance of healing it is important that you minimize or avoid putting any further pressure on it. If you are unable to change position yourself, you will need to be assisted by a carer or relative.


Eating a healthy and balanced diet which contains adequate amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals can help to prevent skin damage and speed up the healing process. You may be referred to a dietician for a dietary plan to be drawn up for you. If you currently have a reduced appetite due to a pre-existing health condition, the advice listed below may be helpful.

  • Avoid drinking large amounts of fluids just before you eat as this will make you feel fuller than you actually are.
  • Eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than two or three larger meals. Set a meal timetable, rather than waiting until you feel hungry. This should help to ensure that you receive the necessary nutrition.
  • If you find swallowing difficult, try pureed foods, soups, and drink specially made nutritional drinks.
  • Vegetarian should eat high-protein alternatives to meat, such as cheese, peanut butter, custard, yoghurt, beans and nuts. 

Checking your skin

If you have known risk factors, it is important that you check your skin on a daily basis for signs of pressure ulcers, such as discoloured areas of skin. This is particularly important if you have underlying conditions, like nerve damage or diabetes, as these may dampen or numb feelings of pain in certain parts of your body.

Use a mirror to check the parts of your body that are difficult to see, such as the heels of your feet and bottom. If you notice any damage, inform your care team. Contact your GP or community nurse if you are at home. If you are in a nursing home or hospital, inform one of the carers or nurses.