Bedsores (also called pressure sores) don't
occur only in people confined to bed. They
can occur in people who sit or lie in the
same position for more than a couple of hours
Pressure sores develop over weight-bearing
parts of the body, especially where bones
are just under the skin. These areas include
the hips, shoulder blades, tailbone and heels.
Some people may develop pressure sores after
just a few hours of constant pressure on an
A pressure sore begins as a reddened, sensitive
patch of skin. If untreated, it progresses
to an open sore (ulcer). It may or may not
cause pain. Pressure sores require medical
treatment but still take a long time to heal.
For this reason, prevention is key.
Here are some tips for preventing
• If a person can move without help,
he or she should shift position or get up
and walk around at least every two hours.
• If a person can't move without help,
shift his or her position at least every two
• Reduce sedation or sedative medications
to make it easier for the person to move around
• Use cushions or foam wedges to distribute
the person's weight in a bed or chair. You
usually need a prescription for cushions customized
to reduce pressure to the skin.
• Use a special mattress that helps
reduce pressure on the skin. These mattresses
redistribute weight off pressure points and
place it throughout the body.
• If possible maintain continence and
reduce moisture. People who have fecal or
urinary incontinence are at increased risk
of pressure sores. Frequent trips to the bathroom
can help limit this problem.