February 2018
Pressure Injuries (Bed Sores)
Emergency Medicine; Gerontology; Internal Medicine and Subspecialties; Nursing; Surgery

​Key Facts from the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) 

A pressure injury is damage to
the skin or tissue under the
skin caused by sitting or lying
in one position for too long.



More than 2.5 million people in the
United States develop a pressure injury
each year. 



 Common Causes of Pressure Injuries

✓ Limited activity
✓ Decreased ability to move
✓ Poor diet
✓ Too much moisture from loss of bowel and bladder control or sweating
✓ Poor overall health
✓ Old age  


Pressure injuries usually occur over bony areas of the body such as the back of your head, shoulders, lower back, hips, elbows, heels, or your bottom. They can look like reddened skin or an open sore.  They can occur quickly and be painful. Discuss any questions and concerns with your doctor.

Prevention is the Goal

Stay Healthy

Eat a healthy diet with lots of protein and drink plenty of fluids.

Use the Right Tools

Place pillows under your lower legs to keep heels off the bed.
Use pressure relieving devices, such as low air loss mattresses, ordered by your doctor.

Keep Moving

Change your position often so that there's not pressure on the bony areas for long periods of time.
Limit the time you're seated in a chair without moving.

Protect your Skin

Avoid lying on existing pressure injuries or areas of skin that are red.
Do not massage areas that are at risk of pressure injury.

©2021 Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority