Terms and definitions
In this module the following definitions will be used for important and commonly used terms associated with the topic. Note that these definitions may vary from those used in other literature.
Definition used in Modules
A force resisting motion in a parallel direction relative to the common boundary of two surfaces (e.g. the interface between skin and an item of clothing or bedding).
A measure of the force per unit area exerted perpendicular to the surface of interest. (Pressure is equal to force divided by area). When used in relation to tissue it typically refers to the degree of compressive loading the tissue is experiencing.
A “localised issue to the skin and/or underlying tissue usually over a bony prominence, as a result of pressure, or pressure in combination with shear.”1 The terms ‘pressure wound’, ‘pressure ulcer’, and ‘bed sore’ are other common terms found in the literature to describe the same condition. In the Pan Pacific region the term ‘pressure injury’ has been adopted as the commonly agreed term.2
Pressure injury stages
A classification system for communicating the severity of a pressure injury. See the pressure injury classification system for information regarding how to determine the Stage of a pressure injury.
Use of material properties and contouring on a support surface to transfer pressure from one region of tissue (usually a high risk site such as tissue over a bony prominence) to another (typically a low risk site).3
A measure of the force per unit area exerted parallel to the surface of interest. When used in relation to tissue it typically refers to the loading that develops in tissue preventing the body from sliding across a surface.
The degree to which a support surface allows a body to ‘sink’ into it.
The degree to which a support surface locally conforms to the contour of the body.
Various strategies that the client can use for reducing or fully relieving tissue loading to aid in managing their risk of pressure injury.
- National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) and European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Clinical Practice Guideline. Washington DC: NPUAP; 2009. Cited in Australian Wound Management Association. Pan Pacific Clinical Practice Guideline for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injury. Cambridge Media Osborne Park, WA: 2012.
- Australian Wound Management Association. Pan Pacific Clinical Practice Guideline for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injury. Cambridge Media Osborne Park, WA: 2012.
- Australian Wound Management Association. Ibid.