Support Surfaces for Treatment of Pressure Ulcers

This section addresses support surface recommendations for individuals with existing pressure ulcers. Refer to the Support Surfaces section in the Prevention Guideline for information on prevention of additional pressure ulcers and general guidance on positioning. Refer to the Glossary in the Clinical Practice Guideline for selected terms and definitions associated with support surfaces.

Support surfaces alone neither prevent nor heal pressure ulcers. They are to be used as part of a total program of prevention and treatment. When pressure ulcers deteriorate or fail to heal, the professional should consider replacing the existing support surface with one that will improve pressure redistribution and microclimate (heat and moisture control) for the individual. Changing the support surface is only one of several strategies to consider. The individual and his/her pressure ulcer should be re-evaluated. Preventive interventions and local wound care should also be intensified as needed. A significant increase in risk status may also prompt such re-evaluation of the individual and the support surface.