Dementia and the impact on pressure injury

Dementia is defined as a “usually progressive condition (such as Alzheimer's disease) marked by the development of multiple cognitive deficits (such as memory impairment, aphasia, and the inability to plan and initiate complex behavior).”1


It is a disorder of the brain in which a person experiences decreasing cognitive abilities that often cause inability to process and retain new information.2 Dementia is typically diagnosed when acquired cognitive impairment has become severe enough to compromise social and/or occupational functioning.3

Those suffering with dementia may be cared for by a family member at home, or in a nursing home, acute care hospital or specialized care facility. This population faces a greater risk of developing unwanted skin breakdown that may occur as a result of limited mobility/activity, decreased sensory perception, and those extrinsic and intrinsic factors, such as poor nutrition, increased moisture, shear and friction.4

This population is very vulnerable from a holistic perspective since they have cognitive instability. This makes them more susceptible to the development of pressure injury due to the inability to participate in their care and frequently they are noncompliant with treatments such as wound care and proper nutrition.

As we know, the older we get, the less our body can respond to and process noxious stimuli. This is more prominent in a patient/resident suffering from dementia. Adults, 65 years of age or older, are the vulnerable population due to thinner, fragile skin with less elasticity, and are more susceptible to the effects of moisture, heat and pressure. It may be a challenge for the healthcare provider to focus on dementia and mobilizing the patient/resident, while dealing with complexities that come with caring for this population. Pressure injury, if left untreated or mismanaged, can be detrimental and may lead to death.

Pressure injuries may be prevented and managed with the use of an appropriate support surface and therapeutic seating, when out of bed. To find out more about Arjo Pressure Injury Prevention Solutions, visit

Arjo Pressure Injury Prevention Solutions

Mary Anne Uayan, BSN, RN, CCRN
Clinical Consultant Wound Care

For further information, contact your local Arjo Sales Representative today.

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  1. “Dementia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster,
  2. Arvanitakis Z, Shah RC, Bennett DA. Diagnosis and management of dementia: a review [published October 22, 2019]. JAMA.
  3. Hugo, Julie: Dementia and Cognitive Impairment: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment Clin Geriatr Med, Aug 2014.
  4. Bryant, R. A., & Nix, D. P. (2015). Acute and chronic wounds: Current management concepts (5th ed.). St. Louis, Mo. Mosby Elsevier.