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Patient Diversity and Pressure Injury Prevention

Speaker: Neesha Oozageer Gunowa MSc, PGCert, BSc, SPT, DN, RN, QN

Pressure injuries are, unfortunately, all too common in all areas of care. Studies have shown that patients with dark skin tones are more likely to develop full-thickness pressure injuries, and black patients are most likely to develop these injuries than any other ethnic group. It is suspected that a contributing cause of increased incidence in this population is due to difficulty recognizing early-stage pressure injuries in people with dark skin tones.

Currently, the majority of pressure injury assessments and staging education is centered on skin tones. This gap in education has put patients of color at increased risk of full-thickness pressure injury development. Current education standards should be adjusted to review pressure injury presentation across skin tones, so clinicians are better prepared to provide care to all patients.

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Pressure Injury Identification in Lightly vs. Darkly Pigmented Skin

Patients with darker skin tones are more likely to develop full-thickness pressure injuries (PIs), at least partly because of difficulties in detecting wounds early. It is therefore important to be aware of the different manifestations of PIs in patients with light or dark skin tones.

This illustrated white paper compares the clinical features of all stages of PIs, including deep tissue PIs, in light versus darkly pigmented skin. It also provides guidance on performing accurate skin assessments in patients with darker skin, in whom PIs are often unrecognized in early stages.


Quick Facts – Diversity and Pressure Injury Prevention

All patients should have a detailed history and a complete skin examination within 24 hours of hospital admission to check for pressure injuries (PIs), as well as to assess the risk of future PI development. Health care professionals need to be aware that PIs are less easily detected in darkly pigmented skin.

High-risk patients require a PI prevention plan that includes offloading, turning schedules, and nutrition consultations. In patients who already have PIs, digital wound monitoring apps allow for simplified documentation of wounds and can assist in following the wound’s progression during the wound care regimen.


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Pressure Injury Prevention: Recognizing the Early Signs of Injury

Here’s a question for you: How long does it take for a pressure injury (PI) to form? Do you think it happens in 30 minutes? 2 hours? 8 hours? The answer is actually all of the above. The time it takes for a PI to…

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Pressure Injury Monitoring: Using Technology in a Time of Hospital Overcrowding

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How Much Do You Know About Pressure Injury Identification?

Take our 10-question quiz to find out.

Diversity and Pressure Injury Prevention: Important Terms to Know

Erythema: A result of injury or irritation that causes dilation of blood capillaries and manifests as patchy reddening of the skin. Occurs after a patient/resident is exposed to unrelieved pressure for 2 hours. It can be identified as a deep, localized redness; can also be blue or purple.

Hyperemia: The condition of having excess blood in vessels that supply an organ or area of the body. Occurs after patient/resident is exposed to 30 minutes of unrelieved pressure. It can be identified as a localized, non-blanchable redness.

Perfusion: The passage of blood through arteries and capillaries into tissues or organs. When insufficient, there is an increased chance that the patient may have complications.

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