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The impact of nutrition on pressure ulcer healing

23 June 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 12


Pressure ulcers are debilitating and often painful problem, particularly in people who are elderly, immobile and/or obese. It is estimated that more than 100 000 new pressure ulcers develop each year. These wounds are caused by friction and shear and are particularly prevalent in older people, where malnutrition can be a factor in their development. Nutrition plays a key role in pressure ulcer care because wounds need both macronutrients and micronutrients to heal. It is essential that nurses understand the role of nutrition in pressure ulcer management.

It is estimated that 110 000 new pressure ulcers develop each year (Department of Health and Social Care, 2018), costing the NHS between £1.4 and £2.1 billion annually (European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) et al, (2019). The average length of a hospital stay for a patient with a pressure ulcer is around 25 days (NHS Improvement, 2018).

Pressure ulcers are caused by tissue damage when the blood supply to an area of skin is impaired because of significant pressure; they are often preventable (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2014). Clinical interventions for pressure ulcer prevention include holistic assessment, risk assessments and preventive measures (Mitchell, 2018). Malnutrition is a common complication in wound healing and has been cited as a key factor in the development of pressure ulcers (NICE, 2014).

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