Patients admitted to CRP often arrive with complications as a result of spinal cord injury. The most common complication is the prevalence of pressure sores caused by inappropriate care and treatment either at home of in medical establishments. Pressure sores are areas of injured skin and tissue, usually caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long. This reduces the blood supply to the skin and the tissues under the skin, causing tissue to die and a wound to form.
Paralysed people are especially vulnerable as they are less able to change position and sensation of touch, pain and temperature is frequently impaired or absent. Bony parts of the body are most at risk including heels, hips, elbows, the base of the spine and shoulder blades.
Left untreated, pressure sores can become infected leading to severe damage. If the infection spreads to the bone surgery may be required. Infected pressure sores can ultimately be fatal. CRP has developed an effective system of treating pressure sores which involves:
- Relieving the pressure with postural turning
- Early treatment if bacterial infection is present
- Removal of all dead tissue
- Ensuring adequate fluid and nutrition intake to assist healing
- Maintaining good skin care
- Patient education to avoid further sores developing
To increase the knowledge of medical staff in other medical institutes, CRP provides training to nurses and doctors in effective pressure sore management and methods of preventing the development of pressure sores. Around 95% of pressure sores can be prevented through a holistic approach to skin care. Appropriate treatment and inter-disciplinary teamwork can lead to the complete healing of the sore. The methods CRP uses for pressure sore prevention and treatment are simple but have been proven to be effective and within the means of most patients.