Many years ago pressure ulcers (once known as bedsores or pressure sores) were called the epidemic under the bed sheets. This was not only a reference to the vast numbers of people who develop pressure ulcers while ill and immobile but also to the lack of awareness of the challenges posed by these wounds among both the health professionals and the general public.
As time passed health professional awareness of pressure ulcers increased through the actions of charities such as the Tissue Viability Society and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. However for the general public, the people who developed pressure ulcers and their friends and relatives there was really no change in their awareness of pressure ulcers. Although the internet provides thousands of pages devoted to pressure ulcers, their causes and treatments how does anyone know which the sound pages with valid information are and which ones are full of sales talk!
Pressure ulcers deserve to be talked about, each year many thousands of us will develop some form of pressure ulcer – if you are no longer able to move yourself or to feel the discomfort that comes when we sit still too long then pressure damage to the skin and the tissues under your skin are indeed likely to occur in the absence of preventive care. The Your Turn campaign is becoming a strong voice providing advice to the public and health professionals alike. For once there is a resource intended to help people likely to have pressure ulcers or those who have these wounds already, with this resource supported by a number of the charities that support wound care health professionals and by the responsible commercial manufacturers devoted to developing new and innovative ways to help prevent pressure damage.
I support the Your Turn campaign because we all need to know how to look after our skin, and when and where to ask for professional help if your risk of pressure ulcers rapidly changes – for example when ill and staying in bed. Sharing the simple ways in which risk can be reduced and pressure ulcers avoided helps everyone – from stopping us discovering the pain and unpleasantness that can come with pressure ulcers through to helping our hard pressed NHS save money – each year the NHS might spend up to 4% of all its funds just dealing with pressure ulcers. Just as hospital infections and ‘superbugs’ have become commonly known and actively fought, campaigns such as the Your Turn campaign can help us all recognise the importance of pressure ulcers and help to remove this age-old problem from our society and our health care. Visit the Your Turn web site and make sure you know the early signs and risks of pressure ulcers.
Dr Michael Clark
Tissue Viability Society