Cochrane Summaries

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Dietary supplementation for preventing and treating pressure ulcers

Langer G, Fink A
Published Online: 
12 June 2014

Pressure ulcers (also called bed sores) are wounds caused by pressure at the weight-bearing, bony points of immobilised people (such as hips, heels and elbows). Poor nutritional status, or dehydration, may weaken the skin and make people more vulnerable to developing pressure ulcers. Once a pressure ulcer has developed, it can become very large and difficult to heal.

Review Question
We wanted to find out whether changing the diet (for example by giving supplements) could prevent the development of pressure ulcers. We also wanted to find out if dietary changes could help heal pressure ulcers that had already occurred.

The review of trials found that there is no clear evidence that nutritional interventions reduce the number of people who develop pressure ulcers or help the healing of existing pressure ulcers. More research is needed.