How can decubitus be recognized and prevented?

Pressure sores or bedsores can be very painful and dangerous. They are most common in people who are in wheelchairs or patients who are bedridden. It is very important to detect and treat pressure sores quickly to prevent further infections. How can pressure ulcers be recognized and prevented? In this article, you’ll read about it and get an overview of some of the tools that prevent decubitus and promote healing.

What is decubitus?

Decubitus (also called bedsores or pressure sores) are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. It usually occurs at the heels, hip, back, arms, head or knees. The skin suffering from pressure sores is often red, pink, purple or in severe cases even black in color.

Prolonged pressure on the skin

With pressure ulcers, prolonged pressure is exerted on a specific point on the skin so that the skin and the blood vessels in the skin are compressed. In this way, the skin layers no longer receive sufficient oxygen and nutrients, causing the cells in and later the skin to die.

What are risk factors for pressure ulcers?

Pressure sores are most common on the heel, hip, back or even the head and knees. They can also occur on other parts of the body that have less muscle or fat.

Pressure sores or bedsores are most common in people who are confined to a (wheel) chair for several hours a day, people who have had surgery, people who are bedridden, people with circulatory problems (such as heart failure) and in people with incontinence problems.

Has decubitus been diagnosed by a medical professional? Then it is very important to act immediately since pressure ulcers have a high chance of becoming infected. In addition, the risk of dangerous secondary skin infections such as cellulitis is very high.

Recognizing pressure sores

Pressure ulcers may initially look like a small bruise, or even some inflamed blood vessels under the skin. In this way, it can be very difficult to determine the correct diagnosis of pressure ulcers. Other times, on the other hand, pressure ulcers are very clearly identified by their red, pink or blue color. So it varies tremendously from patient to patient and from situation to situation.

Pressure sores can appear deep or superficial. This will depend on the amount of damaged skin tissue. Pressure ulcers can develop into an open wound that can then become infected later. This, of course, should be avoided at all times.


When inspecting pressure sores, it is best to look for pressure points where the skin appears swollen. In addition, check the skin for redness and warmth. Often it looks like the skin was rubbed with a rough cloth. Of course, also ask the patient where the skin hurts when touched.

First signs of pressure ulcers

The first signs of pressure sores are changes in skin color and smell and texture. In later stages, pressure sores may look like an ulcer. The ulcer often has an irregular edge and is red with a yellow or brownish-white center. The ulcer may also blister and bleed easily.

What categories of pressure ulcers are there?

The Dutch scientific association of family physicians, the NHG, speaks of four degrees of pressure ulcers:

Grade 1

These are superficial wounds that look like shallow abrasions. A patient is most likely to develop this type of pressure ulcer when body weight is very high or, on the contrary, body weight is very low and activity levels are low.

Grade 2

Pressure ulcers have now progressed to deeper layers of the skin. This is accompanied by additional discomfort for the patient.

Grade 3

These are wounds that are deep enough to affect underlying tissues, blood vessels and bones. These may require stitches and a tetanus injection, or sometimes more serious medical treatment.

Grade 4

This is the worst kind of wound. A severe form of pressure ulcer often requires multiple stitches and special attention from the doctor. These wounds are usually larger than 7 inches.

How can pressure ulcers be prevented?

To prevent pressure sores, make sure you have the patient sitting or lying in a proper position at all times. It is important to turn or move the person every two hours – more often if necessary. Doctors advise a patient to wear loose clothing and not to make abrasive movements, which damage the skin. In addition, there are various anti-decubitus aids for both sitting and lying patients.

seated patients

There are good devices that prevent pressure ulcers in seated patients. Bos Medical International has a wide range of firm seat cushions against sagging. An anti-decubitus cushion is a cushion that is adapted to the pressure treatment and the weight of the patient. These cushions are most commonly used in wheelchairs and consist of air, foam, gel or gel-air. These products provide good relief and support for different types of users with different pressure relief needs.

patients lying down

There are also good anti-decubitus aids for patients in a lying position. As a specialist in anti-decubitus products, you will find a wide range of anti-decubitus mattresses at Bos Medical International.

This type of antidecubitus mattress or AD mattress is a pressure reducing mattress that significantly reduces the risk of pressure ulcers and bedsores. These mattresses are available in different sizes, varieties and materials such as foam and air. The different mattresses can also be combined with high-quality pumps so that the hardness of the mattress can be easily adjusted to the wishes and needs of the patient.

Conclusion – Recognizing and preventing pressure ulcers

This article outlines how to recognize and prevent pressure ulcers. The consequences of pressure ulcers are often underestimated. When not timely and skillfully intervened, a life threatening situation can arise. Would you like more information on products or prices from our range of pressure ulcers? We are happy to help and prepare a quotation for antidecubitus products for you. Of course, you can also call us (+31135186244) or email us at

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