Decubitus ulcers are common among the elderly and people who cannot move about by themselves. They are caused by pressure of tissue between a surface and the bony prominence. In other words, a person lying in bed may have pressure on a hip. The pressure between the bed and the hip bone can cause skin breakdown.
Decubitus ulcers are pressure sores. The skin over a bony prominence breaks down over time due to restricted blood flow to the area. The wound starts out as a red spot that doesn’t go away when the pressure is removed. As pressure continues to impede blood flow to the afflicted area an open wound will eventually develop. An open wound caused by pressure on a bony prominence like a hip, ankle, or back is called a bed sore, a pressure ulcer and a decubitus ulcer.
Who gets decubitus ulcers?
People with disabilities – Decubitus ulcers are more common on people who cannot move on their own power. A person who sits up in a wheelchair for long hours is more likely to have pressure sores on the coccyx area than someone who isn’t up in a wheelchair all day.
People with bowel and bladder incontinence – Urinary incontinence is another factor that puts an individual at risk for developing bedsores. A person who sits up or lies in bed while incontinent of urine or feces is at great risk for skin breakdown.
People with brain and spinal cord injuries – People who have suffered from spinal cord injuries are also at risk for decubitus ulcers. Likewise, people who have suffered from brain injuries are Also at risk.
People with dementia – Individuals having Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia may not have enough cognition to move their bodies enough to prevent bedsores from forming.
People with diabetes – People living with diabetes often have other issues with circulation and with peripheral nerve responses. An individuals with these kinds of problems may not feel the need to change position while lying in bed or sitting in a chair. Common spots for decubitus ulcers on diabetics are in the shoulders, mid spine, sacral area, the coccyx, the hips, the ankles, and the side of the feet.
People under heavy sedation – Any person who has been under heavy sedation on a regular basis, such as people with psychiatric disorders, are at risk for developing pressure sores. Many nursing home patients and patients in some mental facilities are under heavy doses of sedation for people who may become agitated and hurt themselves or someone else. Some people living at home are also under heavy medication to treat different psychological disorders. If they aren’t awakened to change their position in bed, they will be at risk for developing decubitus ulcers.