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Pressure Ulcers: Treatment Essay

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Updated: Feb 6th, 2022

Introduction

Despite the vast research made in the field, pressure ulcers still remain the problem in all hospital settings. Also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, these are areas of localized damage to the skin and underlying tissue (McInnes et al., 2015). They appear on bony parts of the body as a result of pressure or rubbing. Without appropriate treatment, pressure ulcers can develop into chronic wounds that may occur after healing; that is why this issue requires close monitoring and timely medical intervention. This paper will include the review and comparison of three articles related to the ways of treating decubitus among patients of all age groups in different hospital settings.

Search History

For the paper, the Google Scholar database was utilized to search for appropriate and reliable sources. To facilitate the process, keywords were used, such as ‘pressure’, ‘ulcer’, ‘hospital’, ‘wound’, ‘treatment’. It was also helpful to use synonyms for the terms, such as ‘bedsore,’ ‘decubitus ulcers,’ ‘healing.’ The number of articles found on the topic was large; however, not all of them were included in the work. One of the reasons why some of the articles were excluded is the date of publication. For this literature review, only recent issues were used, which were published not earlier than five years from now (2020). Another criterion was the credibility of a source; that is why articles from unreliable journals were not included in the work. Furthermore, the search was limited to the articles, originally written in the English language, or the ones that were translated into English. As such, three of the most suitable scholarly articles were selected for the paper.

Synthesis of Evidence

For this synthesis, three articles related to bedsores’ treatment were chosen. The first reviewed article contends with the implementation of support surfaces in treating pressure ulcers (McInnes et al., 2018). The aim of the review was to explore various support surfaces such as specially-designed beds, cushions, or mattresses and find out whether they can help deal with decubitus (McInnes et al., 2018). These devices are designed to protect body parts that are likely to be affected by bedsores and ensure even distribution of the surface pressure. The researchers compared low-tech tools such as mattresses filled with fluid, foam, beads, air, and high-tech support surfaces, including electrically powered overlays (McInnes et al., 2018). Apart from the support surfaces’ effectiveness in treating bedsores, the researchers also compared their cost, durability, and reliability.

The next article is also connected with the issue of pressure ulcers’ treatment. Norman et al. (2016) considered the use of antiseptics and antibiotics in order to prevent the spread of infections caused by bedsores. The research aimed to understand whether antimicrobial agents facilitate the ulcer’s healing. The study was based on the claim that there is a relationship between micro-organism populations in wounds, infection, and the healing process, but this connection is still unclear (Norman et al., 2016). Moreover, the reviewed studies included low numbers of patients, and many of them did not contain necessary information about the procedure. Hence, there is a need for further research on the antimicrobial treatment’s effectiveness that will involve more participants and data.

The last reviewed article is focused on treating pressure ulcers with the help of electromagnetic therapy (EMT). Aziz and Bell‐Syer (2015) examined a number of trials where this form of therapy was used to improve the healing of decubitus and other chronic wounds. An electromagnetic field produced by electrodes is believed to positively affect the wounds and speed their healing (Aziz & Bell‐Syer, 2015). Nevertheless, the trials’ results are insufficient to prove the beneficial influence of EMT on the bedsores’ healing.

Critique of Evidence

However, some researchers may not accept the treatment methods mentioned above as effective. First of all, there is not enough information about the procedure of the experiments, which negatively influences their credibility. Moreover, all of the articles review the trials with an insufficient number of participants. Thus, one cannot make a conclusion that these methods of managing decubitus can be helpful and should be implemented in medical practice.

Gaps in the Research

The three articles have certain similarities, such as the commonality of their goals – to find out effective ways of treating pressure ulcers. All of them reviewed other studies and trials to determine the effect of a certain treatment method. Moreover, the articles have limitations and a lack of information, meaning that further research is required. For instance, the three studies include an insufficient number of participants and do not provide enough information about how the trials were conducted. Hence, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from the reviewed articles. There are also clear differences between the reviewed articles, which are also worth mentioning. For example, each of the papers describes different bedsores’ treatment methods. Furthermore, two of them address the methods of treating pressure ulcers, and one is concentrated on using special tools.

Comparison to Your Own Practice

As for my personal experience, I have a particular interest in the implementation of special equipment such as air mattresses when healing bedsores. To my mind, this way of addressing pressure ulcers is better than the others because it hinders the development of the disease and, in some cases, even prevents its occurrence. That is why the first article was the most useful to me, and I will explore this issue further.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the treatment of pressure ulcers is a burning issue for the healthcare system, and this topic deserves consideration. Bedsores are wounds that appear on the patient’s body after prolonged pressure. They pose a threat to a patient’s overall health, and their treatment may be costly for caregivers. In this paper, the three articles dealing with the bedsores’ treatment were reviewed and compared. However, further research is needed as there is a lack of evidence in all of the studies.

References

Aziz, Z., & Bell‐Syer, S. E. (2015). Electromagnetic therapy for treating pressure ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 9(CD002930). 1-21.

McInnes, E., Jammali‐Blasi, A., Bell‐Syer, S. E., & Leung, V. (2018). Support surfaces for treating pressure ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 10(CD009490). 1-64.

McInnes, E., Jammali‐Blasi, A., Bell‐Syer, S. E., Dumville, J. C., Middleton, V., & Cullum, N. (2015). Support surfaces for pressure ulcer prevention. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (9).

Norman, G., Dumville, J. C., Moore, Z. E., Tanner, J., Christie, J., & Goto, S. (2016). Antibiotics and antiseptics for pressure ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4(CD011586). 1-68.

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