Discharge Instructions for Pressure Ulcer

Discharge Instructions for Pressure Ulcer

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Discharge Instructions for Pressure Ulcer

You have been diagnosed with a pressure ulcer. This breakdown of skin and tissue can happen when you are bedridden or stay in one position for a long time without moving. These are also called pressure sores or bedsores. Here’s what you can do to prevent, watch for, or help heal these ulcers.

Prevent Pressure Ulcers

  • Check your body daily for any signs of skin redness or open wounds.

  • Turn or change your position at least every 2 hours. If you can’t move yourself, ask someone to help you move.

  • If you are chair-bound, reposition yourself every 15 minutes. If you cannot move yourself, have someone move you at least once an hour.

  • Ask about special products, such as mattresses and chair cushions, which can help reduce pressure on your skin.

  • Avoid doughnut-shaped cushions or any cushion that does not support you completely.

  • Exercise your body to stay as flexible as possible. Tense and relax your muscles. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Rotate your wrists and ankles. Get help if you can’t do this for yourself.

  • If needed, have a family member, friend, or caregiver bend and straighten your arms and legs every day to keep you from getting stiff.

  • Keep your skin clean and moisturized. Ask your health care provider about products that clean and protect the skin.

  • Maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If your doctor recommends it, see a dietitian for help.

Watch for Signs of Pressure Ulcers

Watch for signs such as these:

  • Body areas with little or no feeling

  • Body areas that are subject to nonstop pressure related to positioning or devices

  • Any injury to the skin

  • A reddened or darkened area of skin that does not go away within 30 minutes of relieving pressure on that site by moving and changing your position

  • Skin cracks, blisters, peels, or breaks

  • Open skin that oozes or drains

Help Yourself Heal

  • Keep pressure off the ulcer and surrounding area. If the ulcer is on your back, try lying on your side or stomach. Pressure wounds will never heal unless the pressure against the ulcer is relieved. You must be careful to keep pressure off these areas at all times.

  • Keep the ulcer clean. Protect it from urine, stool, and other irritating or infectious agents.

  • Don’t massage the area around the ulcer. This can cause extra tissue damage. Also, don’t massage any of the bony parts of your body. These are areas where the bone lies right under your skin and pushes against your skin.

  • Don’t touch or try to remove scabs without medical supervision. Talk to your doctor about products that help pressure ulcers heal. There are also products that protect the area from infection and protect the skin around the ulcer.


Small superficial ulcers may heal without complications. More serious pressure ulcers require close follow-up due to potential for infection. Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or chills

  • Pus, bloody drainage, or odor from the ulcer

  • Redness or swelling around the ulcer

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting

  • Exposed bone in the ulcer