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Tissue viability is concerned with skin and soft tissue wounds including acute surgical wounds, pressure ulcers and all forms of leg ulceration.

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores or pressure sores, are a type of injury that affects areas of the skin and underlying tissue.

Pressure ulcers are caused by poor circulation to tissues due to one or more of:

  • Pressure - constant pressure between a surface and part of the body, usually over bony areas such as heels, hips, bottom
  • Shear - when layers of skin are forced to slideover one another, for example when you slide down or are pulled up a bed or chair
  • Friction - rubbing of the skin

Anyone can get a pressure ulcer, of any age young or old, but the people who are most at risk are the elderly and those in ill health. Our tissue viability team provides specialist advice, support, education and training in all aspects of tissue viability.

Our Pressure ulcer leaflet is available for download here

Our Pressure ulcer prevention poster 'Think S.S.K.I.N' is available here

Referrals are made to our team through district nurses, GPs, practice nurses or hospital wards. If you think we can help you please speak to a health or social care professional and they will refer you to us if appropriate.

Pressure Ulcers - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q. How common are pressure ulcers?
A. Pressure ulcers are a widespread and often underestimated health problem in the UK and across the world. It is estimated that just under half a million people in the UK will develop at least one pressure ulcer in any given year.

Q. Who is most likely to develop a pressure ulcer?
A. Usually people with an underlying health condition. For example, around 1 in 20 people who are admitted to hospital with an acute (sudden) illness will develop a pressure ulcer.

Q. Is a particular age group more susceptible to pressure ulcers?
A. People over 70 years old are particularly vulnerable to pressure ulcers due to a combination of factors, such as:
• reduced blood supply
• ageing of the skin
• older people having a higher rate of mobility problems
Two out of every three cases of pressure ulcers develop in people who are 70 years old or more.

Q. How can pressure ulcers be prevented?
A. Pressure ulcers can be unpleasant, upsetting and challenging to treat. Therefore, healthcare professionals use a range of techniques that are designed to prevent pressure ulcers developing in the first place. These include:
• regularly changing a person’s position
• using equipment, such as specially designed mattresses and cushions, to protect vulnerable parts of the body

How to contact us

Call 0300 421 1407