Preventing Pressure Injuries in Patients with Reduced Mobility

In 2013, the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) initiated the first World Wide Pressure Injury Prevention Day, occurring this year on Thursday, November 19th. In honor of World Wide Pressure Injury Prevention today, Arjo supports and embraces efforts to increase global awareness and education regarding pressure injuries and its prevention.

world wide pressure injury prevention day

Reduced mobility is a significant risk factor for pressure injury development. Repositioning is undertaken to reduce the duration and magnitude of pressure over vulnerable areas of the body and to contribute to patient comfort, hygiene, dignity and functional ability.1

From a caregiver perspective, repositioning dependent patients within the bed is the single greatest risk factor for musculoskeletal injuries among healthcare professionals.2 A study of musculoskeletal injuries resulting from patient handling tasks identified that 32% of injuries resulted from repositioning/turning or lifting patients in bed.3

Frequent repositioning in bed can be made easier and safer for both patients and caregivers with the use of appropriate patient handling aids. This may include the use of friction-reducing slide sheets and or patient lifts/slings.

Additional layers between a patient's skin and a support surface has the potential to increase pressure or negatively impact the skin microclimate increasing the risk of pressure injury.4 Sling features including material breathability, thickness and location of seams, should be assessed prior to the sling being left under a patient. For each patient, caregivers should critically review the impact, both risk and benefit, of leaving a sling beneath a patient.

Risk is particularly high when patients are sitting in a chair, given that the pressure exerted over the bony pelvis is naturally elevated.5 Aside from limiting seating time, pressure redistributing chair cushions are recommended for individuals with reduced mobility. For those chair bound patients, the use of a standing and raising aids can help facilitate regular standing to allow regular skin inspection and to temporarily relieve the sustained high pressures normally encountered during sitting out of bed.

An integrated approach to pressure injury prevention which includes a holistic assessment of the patient, safe handling techniques, repositioning, promoting mobility and the allocation of appropriate support surface technologies for both bed and chair are key.

Arjo solutions are designed to help create safer and more efficient healthcare environments. From patient handling and mobilization, to hygiene and pressure injury prevention, we can help you meet the new and continually evolving challenges of today's acute and long-term care settings.

For more information about our solutions, visit Arjo or contact your local Sales Representative.


  1. European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers/Injuries: Clinical Practice Guideline. The International Guideline, Emily Haesler (Ed.). EPUAP/NPIAP/PPIA:2019. Section 8: Repositioning and Early Mobilization. Recommendation 5.6 Repositioning Techniques. Page121.
  2. McCoskey KL. Ergonomics and Patient Handling. AAOHN Journal, 2007, 55(11): 454-62.
  3. Pompeii LA el al. Musculoskeletal injuries resulting from patient handling tasks among hospital workers. Am J Ind Med, 2009. 52(7): p. 571-8.
  4. Williamson R. lachenbruch C, Van Gilder C. A laboratory Study Examining the Impact of Linen Use on Low-Air-Loss Support Surface Heat and Water Vapor Transmission Rates. OWM 2013;59( 8):32 -41.
  5. Section 10: Support Surfaces. Seating Support Surfaces for lndividuals with or at Risk of Pressure lnjuries. Page 172.