Prioritizing Pressure Relief in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Prioritizing Pressure Relief in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities


Proper pressure relief in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is a fundamental aspect of healthcare that directly impacts the well-being and comfort of residents. Prolonged pressure on vulnerable areas of the body can lead to the development of painful and potentially life-threatening pressure injuries, also known as bedsores, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers and/or pressure injuries. These bedsores can result in deadly infection. In this article, we will explore the importance of pressure relief, methods and strategies for achieving it, and the significant benefits it brings to residents and healthcare facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These principles apply no matter what state or community the facility is located in, including Georgia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

Understanding Pressure Injuries

Pressure injuries occur when sustained pressure restricts blood flow to specific areas of the body, resulting in tissue damage. These injuries can develop in residents who have limited mobility or are bedridden. Common areas of occurrence include the buttocks, coccyx, sacrum, heels, elbows, and hips. Pressure injuries progress through stages, with Stage I being the mildest and Stage IV the most severe, involving deep tissue damage. Residents can also suffer “Deep Tissue Injury” or DTI. These are pressure wounds that evolve differently, typically from deep inside the tissue and eventually opening up on the surface of the skin.

The Importance of Proper Pressure Relief

Pain and Suffering: Pressure injuries can cause intense pain and discomfort, affecting a resident’s overall quality of life.

Complications and Infections: Untreated or poorly managed pressure injuries can lead to serious complications, including infections, cellulitis, and in severe cases, sepsis, septic shock, and death.

Extended Treatment: Nursing home residents with pressure injuries often require hospitalization, which can strain healthcare resources and increase healthcare costs. Treating these wounds may require specialized physician services and other equipment like wound vacuum machines, or “wound vacs,” which can be very expensive.

Financial Costs: Treating pressure injuries is expensive, and nursing homes may face legal repercussions if they are found to be negligent in their prevention and management.

Methods and Strategies for Proper Pressure Relief

Specialized Mattresses and Cushions: Healthcare facilities like nursing homes often must provide specialized pressure relief mattresses and cushions designed to distribute weight more evenly, reducing pressure on vulnerable areas. These include alternating pressure mattresses, low-air-loss mattresses, foam mattresses, and gel-infused cushions.

Repositioning: Regularly changing a resident’s position is crucial for preventing pressure injuries. Healthcare providers should follow a schedule to reposition residents, taking into account the resident’s specific needs and risk factors.

Skin Care: Proper skincare is essential to maintain skin integrity. This includes keeping the skin clean and moisturized, and promptly addressing any signs of redness or irritation.

Nutrition and Hydration: Adequate nutrition and hydration play a significant role in preventing pressure injuries. Malnourished residents are more susceptible to skin breakdown.

Resident Education: Educating residents and their families about the importance of pressure relief and early signs of pressure injuries empowers them to actively participate in prevention efforts.

Assessment and Documentation: Regular assessments of a resident’s skin condition and risk factors are essential. Proper documentation helps track changes and guides interventions.

Benefits of Proper Pressure Relief

Enhanced Resident Comfort: Nursing home residents who receive proper pressure relief experience increased comfort and are better able to rest and recover.

Cost Savings: By preventing pressure injuries, healthcare facilities can reduce the financial burden associated with extended hospital stays and expensive treatments, including the burden on government payment systems, which are funded by taxpayers.

Reduced Risk of Infection: Adequate pressure relief and skin care help minimize the risk of infections, benefiting both residents and healthcare facilities.

Improved Resident Outcomes: Nursing home residents who do not develop pressure injuries are more likely to have better overall outcomes and an improved quality of life.


Proper pressure relief is a crucial aspect of healthcare in nursing homes. It plays a pivotal role in preventing the development of painful and potentially life-threatening pressure injuries, reducing healthcare costs, and improving resident outcomes. Healthcare facilities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities must prioritize pressure relief by investing in specialized equipment, implementing preventive measures, educating staff, and fostering a culture that values the well-being and comfort of residents. Through these efforts, healthcare providers can ensure that residents receive the care they need to maintain skin integrity and minimize the risk of pressure injuries. 

When bedsores lead to injury or wrongful death, seek the assistance of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Thomas W. Pleasant at Pleasant Law, PLLC handles cases throughout North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky, and will evaluate your case with no charge, and offer contingent fee arrangements to pursue viable nursing home negligence and wrongful death cases.

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