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6 – 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 of the human body and consists of three layers – epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous. The epidermis is a thin layer that protects against environmental damage, while the dermis provides structural support and housing sweat glands and hair follicles.

The subcutaneous layer contains connective tissues that house fat cells, which provide insulation from heat loss or gain. To maintain healthy skin integrity, all layers must be present in their normal condition with adequate blood flow to prevent tissue damage leading to pressure sores or ulcerations.

Pressure sores are an area of localised necrosis due to poor circulation combined with shearing force caused by excessive pressure on vulnerable bony areas like hips, ankles, heels etc. Persistent compression deprives these parts of the oxygen-rich blood supply, making it difficult for the wound-healing process. Therefore, any abnormality in one part can increase risk factors such as age; muscle atrophy; systemic disorders, and malnutrition, leading to increased susceptibility to developing pressure ulcers.

To prevent skin breakdown, the person should be frequently repositioned in a way that distributes the body weight evenly. Wound care products such as creams or ointments can also be used for extra protection against friction and moisture accumulation, along with medicated dressings where needed. A healthy balanced diet is important for providing necessary proteins that aid in wound healing and reinforce immune system health. Also, regular physical activity helps improve blood flow which is vital for tissue repair from skin lesions caused by pressure sores.

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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