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Expert advice on preventing pressure sores

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"I’m due to go into hospital for surgery but I’m concerned about developing pressure sores during my recovery as I have diabetes, which puts me at higher risk of this. Is there anything I can let the doctors know, or do myself to prevent pressure sores?"

Patients can develop a pressure sore if they are immobile for long periods of time, for example, if they are recovering from surgery, so your concerns are totally founded.

Certain patients could also be at an increased risk of developing pressure sores, for example, people aged over 70, or those with medical conditions including MS and diabetes. Patients, especially those at higher risk, should be risk assessed on admission and a care plan put in place. These documents need to be followed and updated throughout your stay in hospital.

It is vital that your healthcare strategy includes frequent turning to prevent painful sores from developing. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that adults at risk, who are unable to move themselves, should be turned every six hours, while higher risk adults should be turned every four hours.

There is also a range of specialist medical devices on the market which are designed to help redistribute pressure from at-risk areas for patients.

These include inflatable cushions designed to help those who are sitting for long periods, automated systems which turn patients at scheduled times, and even specialist tubes which prevent sores caused by cannulas and catheters.

There are a number of simple steps patients can take to make it less likely that they develop a pressure sore during a hospital stay or while they are recovering. These include:

  • Changing position frequently, where possible
  • Drinking at least two litres of fluids per day
  • Eating a well-balanced diet to ensure there is no additional pressure build up
  • patients should check their skin twice daily

When a patient becomes aware of discomfort or changes to their skin, they should speak with their doctor immediately to assess any potential pressure risks.

JCP Solicitors Medical Negligence team has particular expertise in claims of maximum severity including cases of birth injury and brain damage, as well as cases involving spinal cord injury. For advice on Medical Negligence contact Nick O’Neill on 02920 391917 or email Nick.O’

The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. The content does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information only.