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4 – Unit 31 – Undertake agreed pressure area care

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1.1 Describe the anatomy and physiology of the skin in relation to skin breakdown and the development of pressure sores

The skin is the largest organ in the body and serves many important functions, including protection from environmental factors such as temperature extremes, UV radiation and microbial invasion. It also helps regulate body temperature by trapping heat or releasing sweat to cool down.

The epidermis (outermost layer of skin) consists mainly of dead keratinised cells that provide a waterproof barrier against water loss and infection while regulating some substances entering or leaving the organism through passive transport processes such as diffusion.

The dermis (the middle layer) contains collagen fibres that give strength to our connective tissue matrix between them; elastin fibres which allow flexibility within this matrix; blood vessels for delivery of oxygen and nutrients needed by cellular structures; lymphatic system vessels helping defend against foreign bodies like viruses/bacteria etc.; hair follicles with accompanying sebaceous glands producing oils protecting from dehydration and external irritants; plus nerve endings offering sensory input via touch stimuli etc.

Skin breakdown occurs when pressure on an area exceeds its tolerance. The combination of pressure and moisture can lead to shearing forces which damage the skin layers, making them susceptible to further injury or infection. If a person is immobile for long periods without relief, areas such as bony prominences (heels, elbows etc.) may be deprived of sufficient blood supply and result in an inadequate oxygen and nutrient delivery system, causing tissue necrosis – leading to the development of Pressure sores/Ulcers.

Other answers in the full document:

  • 1.2 Identify pressure sites of the body

  • 1.3 Identify factors which might put an individual at risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores

  • 1.4 Describe how incorrect handling and moving techniques can damage the skin

  • 1.5 Identify a range of interventions that can reduce the risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores
  • 1.6 Describe changes to an individual’s skin condition that should be reported
  • 2.1 Identify legislation and national guidelines affecting pressure area care
  • 2.2 Describe agreed ways of working relating to pressure area care
  • 2.3 Describe why teamworking is important in relation to providing pressure area care
  • 3.1 Describe why it is important to follow the agreed care plan
  • 3.3 Identify any concerns with the agreed care plan prior to undertaking the pressure area care
  • 3.4 Describe actions to take where any concerns with the agreed care plan are noted
  • 3.5 Identify the pressure area risk assessment tools which are used in own work area
  • 3.6 Explain why it is important to use risk assessment tools

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