The pressure is on: A case study of how pressure injuries affect your life

It’s no secret that pressure injuries are a significant issue for people with spinal cord injury.  They can prevent people from doing the things that are important and meaningful.  They can be a huge risk to health and wellbeing.  The National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) observed Pressure Injury Prevention Awareness Day on Thursday, November 18 this year.

Identifying the risk factors and early signs of a pressure injury, then taking appropriate action is key to preventing more severe pressure injuries. We caught up with ParaQuad member Stewart and ParaQuad Occupational Therapist Blair to understand the impact a pressure injury can have.

 

Stewart’s Story:

For ParaQuad member Stewart, when his pressure injuries began impacting his everyday life, he engaged the services of a ParaQuad Occupational Therapist (OT), Blair.

Summary of the Clinical Presentation:

 

  • Stewart was getting a recurrent pressure injury every 6 – 8 weeks. He would go on bed rest and the skin would heal.  Then he would return to the wheelchair and the pressure injury would return.
  • Blair assessed the seating in relation to Stewart. Blair and Stewart made decisions about setup changes to trial.
  • Several changes were made to the setup of the seating. After each change, they were able to use the XSensor to make sure the changes were having the right impact.
  • Since these changes, Stewart has not experienced another pressure injury
  • Stewart has been able to avoid lengthy stays in bed to heal his skin.
  • Stewart has been able to return to work.

 

Stewart, ParaQuad member

Hi, my name is Stewart, and I live in Sydney, NSW. I am a wheelchair user, living life to the fullest.

Pressure sores are a significant risk to my independence at home and employment, both of which are important to me. I currently live by myself with my beautiful nine years old companion labrador, and I strive to live as independently a life as physically possible with C5/6 spinal cord injury. Where I can still work and play an active role in the community.

A pressure injury (PI) can and has recently impacted my lifestyle on numerous occasions. That is until I engaged assistance from Paraquad NSW Occupational Therapists (OT). The PI challenges my independence and way of life, as I’m forced to go to bed and stay off the PI to avoid severe injury.  Moreover, I require more assistance from carers, family and friends when I have sustained a pressure sore. Recently, I’ve been struggling to resolve my reoccurring pressure injuries. As I’m sure you can imagine, It is immensely frustrating and boring to frequently spend so much time in bed.

Recently I started working with a ParaQuad OT team member, Blair, who visited me at home to review my pressure care problems. Blair was brilliant and was able to completely help me ascertain key setup issues for my manual wheelchair, Roho cushion, and seating position. Blair made crucial adjustments to my pressure care and implemented the required solutions to avoid ongoing pressure injuries. Furthermore, Blair utilised innovative pressure mapping technology to achieve a conclusive resolution. I was able to return to work and live a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Furthermore, my PIs caused extra work for my amazing support carers, to whom I also owe a lot of gratitude. I nominated my primary support carer, Annie Heng, for her outstanding professionalism, challenging work, honesty, and reliability. Annie continuously puts my needs first to ensure I receive the best support care possible at home and in the community. Moreover, Annie has helped in numerous ways, such as receiving her vaccinations early and always abiding by the recommended safety guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, my companion dog Freya adores her and is well looked after by Annie. For example, Annie cleans Freya’s water bowls, refills with fresh water every day, and helps prepare meals. From both myself and Freya, we say thank you very much!

 

Below are the images of the pressure mapping technology that was used to assess Stewart’s seating arrangements.

For more information about how ParaQuad can help with pressure injuries or about our Occupational Therapists in general, head to our website.