As a company that’s provided many wheelchairs in London over the years to people with mobility issues, the team at 1st Step Mobility are aware of a number of hardships faced by wheelchair-users, social, societal, and physical alike. Something that doesn’t always get the attention it should do is the risk of pressure sores, which can become massively debilitating to those who develop them.
Pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers) can develop on the body when a person spends too much time sitting or lying in one position, meaning those with mobility issues are particularly at risk from them, including people who use wheelchairs. These wounds can quickly worsen and become infected and cause a lot of distress as well as cost to the NHS each year. Prevention is always better than cure, especially in the case of pressure sores, so just how can wheelchair users go about preventing them?
Pressure sores are caused by damage to an area of tissue from a loss of blood supply or damaging friction, so this is the first thing to be addressed. Pressure needs to be reduced, especially in more areas that are more susceptible to it, such as the hips, tailbone, shoulder blades, and heels. Ensure your wheelchair is comfortable and properly fitting, with padded support cushions that relieves high pressure areas such as the ones mentioned above, and any other areas that might be a problem for you.
It’s important to keep cool and ventilated, as damp skin is more susceptible to damage than dry skin, and heat can contribute to pressure sores too. Keeping your skin dry and preventing it from overheating can lower your risk of developing pressure ulcers. Ensure your clothing and accessories are made of breathable materials that do not trap moisture.
You may not think it important, but watching what you eat can help prevent pressure sores, too. Protein and certain vitamins helps the body repair damage more quickly, and hydrated skin is more elastic and resistant to pressure sores, so be sure to drink enough.
Change positions regularly, whether sitting or lying down. Do so in a way that reduces friction and pressure in key areas, such as lifting your weight off your seat, rather than just wriggling around. Take care during transfer period, and avoid dragging your body where possible, as this can cause friction damage.
Finally, make sure to inspect your skin every day. Pay close attention to bony areas and watch out for discolouration and callouses, as these can signal the start of a pressure sore.
If you’re looking for comfortable wheelchairs in London, 1st Step Mobility have a wide range of manual and powered chairs for you to choose from! Visit us in store today, or contact us for more information by calling 01708 746644 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.