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Pressure ulcer wound stages and dressings

Unlike other wounds, pressure ulcers are classified into four stages based on their severity. Pressure ulcers happen when the skin and tissue under the skin are injured from constant pressure. Bony places on the body like the heels, ankles, hips and buttocks are at particular risk for bed sores since the bone is close to the skin and can press against it. People with limited mobility – perhaps they’re confined to a wheelchair or bedridden – are most prone to pressure ulcers.

Wound dressings, which help promote healing and keep the sore from becoming worse, are just part of a person’s overall wound treatment. Often different kinds of dressings are used in combination during the healing process to best treat the wound. Along with dressings, your health care provider may recommend ways to relieve the pressure to the affected area to prevent further injury.

This chart provides information for the four pressure ulcer stages along with the dressings that may be recommended for each. This chart can be used in consultation with your health care provider to help you choose the right dressing for your specific wound. Keep in mind, determining the type of a pressure ulcer is only one aspect used when choosing a dressing. Also, if the wound is infected or chronic, additional wound dressing choices may be used.

Note: Wound dressing selection can vary between health care providers and health care institutions.

Wound Type

Characteristics

Indicated Dressings Recommended Products

Stage I Pressure Ulcer

  • No wound fluid
  • Constant redness
  • Skin remains intact
  • Usually over a bony area
  • Area doesn’t turn white when pressed

 

Transparent Film

Hydrocolloids

 

Stage II Pressure Ulcer

  • Open wound, may reach down to the second skin layer
  • Red or pink wound base
  • May be closed or opened blister
  • No slough (yellow/white stringy or thick dead tissue around wound)

Transparent Film

Hydrocolloids

Hydrogels

Foam Dressings

 

Stage III Pressure Ulcer

  • Open wound that breaks through all skin levels
  • Visible fat layer, but not bone, tendon or muscle
  • Wound may begin expanding under adjacent intact skin

Foam Dressings

Hydrogels

Hydrocolloids

Alginate Dressings

Stage IV Pressure Ulcer

  • Open wound that exposes bone, tendon or muscle
  • Wound may contain slough or dark, firm, dead tissue
  • Wound often begins to expand under intact skin next to the open wound

Foam Dressings

Hydrogels

Hydrocolloids

Alginate Dressings

Edgepark provides a wide range of advanced wound care dressings to address all stages of healing and treatment.

 

Related articles:
What is wound exudate?
Wound care 101
How do dressings help wounds heal?
 
SOURCES
www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1115/p1186.html
www.mayoclinic.com/health/bedsores/DS00570