Hospital-Associated Pressure Ulcers Hospital Quality Indicator. Search the best hospital.

A Hospital-Associated Pressure Ulcer (HAPU), often termed as “bedsore”, is an injury that might occur on the skin or underlying tissues as a result of pressure, moisture, or friction. Patients are vulnerable to pressure ulcers when they have limited mobility and cannot shift positions on the bed without assistance.

Symptoms of Pressure Ulcers

Depending on the severity, symptoms of pressure ulcers are grouped into five stages:-

Stage I: The skin starts to get red and it hurts when pressure is applied to the particular area. This is the first stage of the formation of pressure ulcer.

Stage II: The skin sores or develops an open sore. The area may turn red and cause irritation.

Stage III: At this stage, the tissue below the skin is damaged and develops an open, sunken hole, like a crater.

Stage IV: The pressure ulcer is so severe during this stage that it causes serious damage to the muscles and bones.

Causes of Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcer develops when pressure sustains on a particular body part and hinders the supply of blood to that part of the body. The lack of blood supply means that the skin is no longer receiving infection-fighting white blood cells. This deficiency can result in tissue damage and eventually pressure ulcer.

What is being done to prevent hospital-associated pressure ulcers?

Healthcare centers follow a stringent precautionary process to prevent bedsores. Some of the essential steps taken by healthcare centers include:-

  • Thorough risk assessment procedure is adhered to by healthcare centers to timely address the risk factor.
  • Assessment of risk by identifying factors like existing pressure injuries and health issues such as diabetes, vascular problems, etc.
  • Regular check up on the patient by medical staff.
  • Based on the risk evaluation of the bed sores, development of a care plan that mitigates any further progress of the injury.

Proper skin care routine is followed, that includes:-

  • Medical staff inspects the skin of hospitalized patients to identify any signs of pressure injuries.
  • Healthcare providers also examining the pressure points, body temperature, and condition of the skin with the help of medical tools.
  • If there has been an incident of incontinence, medical staff immediately cleans the skin with a cleanser and apply skin moisturizer to the affected area

Hospitalized patients are often at the risk of being under nutrition, which can be a cause for pressure ulcers. To avoid this, healthcare providers:

  • Use proper tools to identify the nutrition level of the patient.
  • Refer under nutrition patients to a nutritionist and dietitian.
  • Check the patient’s weight regularly.
  • Provide patients with required supplemental nutrition.1.Lack of mobility is a big factor resulting in pressure injuries. To avoid the chances of bedsores due to immobility, healthcare providers:-
  • Reposition the patients following a scheduled rotation chart, if the condition permits.
  • Use pressure-relieving devices when positioning patients on any support surface (bed, sofa, etc.).
  • Consider factors like the patient’s level of mobility, body size, skin moisture level, exposure to shear, etc., while selecting a supporting surface.

What patients can do to prevent HAPU?

Patients from their end can follow these steps diligently to prevent the occurrence of bedsores:-

  • Patients must obtain verbal as well as written information from healthcare providers regarding pressure injury prevention.
  • Repositioning can often cause pain, so if patients experience excessive pain, they must ask the nursing staff to give analgesia immediately, to reduce the pain.
  • Patients must regularly notify the staff to reposition and also maintain an adequate skin care routine.

Identifying the Signs of Pressure Ulcers and Taking the Right Steps

Healthcare centers can prevent bedsores by regularly repositioning the patients to avoid stress on the skin. Along with that, dedicatedly following an adequate skin care routine and maintaining a good supply of nutrition to all patients also plays an important role in mitigating the possibilities of pressure ulcers. But, it is imperative for patients as well to research and gains adequate knowledge 

Dr. Rishab Sharma

Dr. Rishab Sharma MBBS, MD (Internal Medicine) He is associated with Fortis Escorts Hospital, Jaipur. Dr. Rishab has wide experience in managing a variety of diseases, as well as managing critical care units in large government and corporate hospitals.

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