!Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Sores

Visiting a gentleman (who enjoys elaborate coloring books) in a nursing home. He has been fighting the same pressure sore for two years.

Here is the Mayo Clinic’s  definition and explanation of a pressure sore (injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulted from prolonged pressure).

Here is the human reality.

Pressure sores are a fact of life for many people with SCI.  Extended periods of time spent in bed or in a chair increase the risk of skin breakdown.   For the individual with SCI the starting point is fear.  Fear that an ulcer may occur.  Fear that an ulcer is occurring.  Fear that the ulcer will not heal quickly.  Fear that the ulcer will not heal.  Fear that the ulcer may lead to increased disability or even death.

When the sore occurs, immediate medical intervention is necessary.  Treatment varies depending on the stage of ulcer progression.  Ranging from changing bandages to the cutting away of dead tissue and skin grafting.

While the body heals and attempts to heal, the person is confined to home, nursing facility or hospital.  This period of time can last for weeks, months and in the case of the man who colored this drawing – years.  It can be an isolating time.  Depression and anxiety may result.

The best way to manage pressure sores for people with SCI, is to avoid getting them in the first place.  But this is much easier said than done.   Wheel chair cushions may not fit quite right – or wear out over time.  An attempt to do a sport may rub the wrong way.  Staying in bed too long is risky as well.  Some people appear to be more prone to pressure sores others.  What works for one person may not work for another.

Which leads to the second best way to manage pressure sores – make sure the skin is carefully checked on a daily basis.  

About Karen
Karen Koehler, partner at the nationally recognized law firm of SKW, blogs about all things related to spinal cord injuries...More
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Favorite Quotation
On Another's Sorrow
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear.
And not feel my sorrows share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd.

Can a mother sit and hear.
An infant groan an infant fear?
No no never can it be,
Never never can it be

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small
Hear the small bird's grief & care
Hear the woes that infants bear

And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity in their breast.
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infant's tear.

And not sit both night & day.
Wiping all our tears away.
O! no never can it be.
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.


— William Blake