Common Questions About Pressure Ulcers

Am Fam Physician. 2015 Nov 15;92(10):888-94.


Patients with limited mobility due to physical or cognitive impairment are at risk of pressure ulcers. Primary care physicians should examine at-risk patients because pressure ulcers are often missed in inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings. High-risk patients should use advanced static support surfaces to prevent pressure ulcers and air-fluidized beds to treat pressure ulcers. Physicians should document the size and clinical features of ulcers. Cleansing should be done with saline or tap water, while avoiding caustic agents, such as hydrogen peroxide. Dressings should promote a moist, but not wet, wound healing environment. The presence of infection is determined through clinical judgment; if uncertain, a tissue biopsy should be performed. New or worsening pain may indicate infection of a pressure ulcer. When treating patients with pressure ulcers, it is important to keep in mind the patient's psychological, behavioral, and cognitive status. The patient's social, financial, and caregiver resources, as well as goals and long-term prognosis, should also be considered in the treatment plan.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Pressure Ulcer / classification
  • Pressure Ulcer / diagnosis*
  • Pressure Ulcer / physiopathology
  • Pressure Ulcer / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Wound Healing / physiology*