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Does massage help to prevent pressure ulcers?

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Does massage help to prevent pressure ulcers? What do you think?

EXPERT COMMENT

The simple answer is there is no evidence to suggest massage helps prevent pressure ulcers. In fact, there is limited evidence to suggest it actually causes harm, and several national guideline groups advise against it.

Key points are:

  • There is no evidence to suggest massage helps to prevent pressure ulcers
  • The potential for interpreting what constitutes a massage could mean there is no standard approach
  • Massage on patients at risk of developing pressure ulcers who have inflamed skin could exacerbate existing damage

Heidi Guy is a tissue viability clinical nurse specialist, East and North Hertfordshire Trust, and an honorary fellow, University of Hertfordshire.

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