Western NSW Local Health District is encouraging people to prevent an injury by looking after their skin during Wound Awareness Week (March 23 – 27).
Occupational Therapist Sarah McBurney said our skin is the largest organ in our body and there are many things that can affect its health, including our age, how active we are, our diet, what medications we take, other health problems, and our ability to feel or respond to pain.
“The skin over the bony points of your body is prone to developing red areas from pressure,” she said. “Some red areas go away quickly once you stand or change position off the bony point. Other problem red areas stay red and when pressed with your finger don’t show as white for a short time after being pressed. This a stage one pressure injury for which you need to take some action”.
For some people who are not able to change their position because of illness, pressure injury or bedsore may occur. If so, you are urged to see your doctor immediately to seek medical attention.
There are many things you can do to prevent pressure injuries (bedsores), as follows:
• Be active and get up from the chair.
• Change positions in bed or when you’re sitting.
• If moving is difficult, you may need to use special equipment to make you more comfortable and help look after your skin.
• Have a look at your skin daily during showering. Your partner or carer can be a great help to look out your heels, bottom and elbows.
“Our hospital places great importance on our patients looking after their skin so people shouldn’t be surprised if they are asked questions about their skin and whether they have any pain or sore spots if they have to stay in hospital,” Ms McBurney said.
“You will also have a member of staff asking to check your skin. This helps us to make sure we look after you well during your stay”.
If you have a problem with pressure injuries, it’s recommended you seek professional advice on how to best look after your skin by contacting your GP, Community Nurse or local Occupational Therapist.