Friday, 21 July 2017

Pressure sores are painful

Roger Watson, Editor-in-Chief

I am well aware the we no longer refer to 'pressure sores' and even the term 'pressure ulcer' has been replaced by 'pressure injury' - and a good thing too because that is exactly what skin breakdown due to pressure is: a pressure injury. However, the original term 'sore' reminds us also that pressure injury is painful as explained in this article from UK and Australia by Jackson et al (2017) titled: 'Pain associated with pressure injury: a qualitative study of community based, home-dwelling individuals' and published in JAN.

The aim of the study was 'to provide deep insights into the pain associated with pressure injuries' and towards that end 12 people experiencing or who had experienced pressure injury were interviewed. One person said: 'You tend to think that pain is a question of mind over matter, but it isn’t. There’s nothing, apart from taking the pain killers. You are at its mercy. And pressure sores are relentless. . . . the pressure ulcer is there 24 hours. And it doesn’t matter where you sit, where you lie, where you turn, it’s there, there’s no getting away from it.' Another person was more specific: 'Like there’s glass in it, that’s what that feels like. All the time, like I’ve got glass in my foot. It just rubs all the time. It’s horrible. Stings as well as rubs and they just cover it up.' The unbearable nature of the pain was expressed by someone who said: 'The one thing that’s consuming me at the moment is the pressure sore. Everything else fades into insignificance, the fact that your heart might stop at any moment doesn’t worry me as much as the pressure sore. It’s consumed me in the last two to three weeks. . .'

The authors concluded: 'Our findings suggest that both the assessment of pain and the subsequent
management of the pain were not well managed in this patient group' and '(t)here is clearly a need for revised nursing policy and practices with better assessment and recognition of risk to reduce (pressuse injury) developing, strong patient advocacy and involvement to ensure optimal pain management strategies are in place and adhered to.

You can listen to this as a podcast


Jackson, D., Durrant, L., Bishop, E., Walthall, H., Betteridge, R., Gardner, S., Coulton, W., Hutchinson, M., Neville, S., Davidson, P. M. and Usher, K. (2017), Pain associated with pressure injury: a qualitative study of community based, home-dwelling individuals. J Adv Nurs. doi:10.1111/jan.13370

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