Pressure Ulcer Prevention Important in Surgical Patients

Perioperative nurses should monitor patients and actively mitigate risks
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses should consider every surgical patient "at-risk" for pressure ulcers and devise an individualized plan to mitigate that risk, according to an article in the March issue of the AORN Journal.

Patina S. Walton-Geer, a wound and foot care nurse clinician at AnMed Health Outpatient Wound and Foot Care Clinic in Anderson, S.C., reviewed current practice and offered a series of recommendations to prevent pressure ulcers. Key recommendations include evaluation of the patient's skin integrity, musculoskeletal status and blood circulation at pressure points. When the pressure on the skin exceeds 32 mm Hg, local capillary blood flow can be hindered causing tissue ischemia and necrosis of skin and underlying tissues.

Pressure ulcer risk can be mitigated by correct positioning of the patient, as well as by redistributing the patient's weight with prophylactic devices, such as mattress overlays and padding, the author writes. The overlay systems use foam, gel, static air, or dynamic air to support the body without creating pressure points. Thromboembolic disease stockings can also help maintain circulation, Walton-Geer adds.

"More evidence-based research in this area will encourage practice changes that will in turn help decrease pressure ulcer development, improve patient comfort, decrease patient mortality and lower health care costs," the author writes.

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