What is a pressure ulcer?
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a pressure ulcer is damage to the skin and the deeper layer of tissue under the skin. They are also referred to as pressure sores or bedsores. (April 2004)
Pressure ulcers occur when an area of skin is subjected to pressure for a period of time. The ulcer forms because the blood supply to the skin is reduced and the skin becomes starved of oxygen and nutrients. People who have to stay in bed or sit in a chair for long periods of time are the most susceptible.
If left untreated, pressure ulcers can become very serious, causing pain, and can result in a hospital admission. Muscle or bone can also be badly damaged by severe pressure ulcers, with healing taking a very long time.