Patients are repositioned frequently and skin is inspected to monitor for any signs of skin breakdown. Critically ill patients have many reasons for skin problems, including: immobility, low blood flow to the tissue, use of drugs that decrease blood flow to the skin, poor nutrition, edema, surgery and infection.
Special bed surfaces are used to reduce the risk for pressure. Some beds that are used rotate from side to side to help change the pressure on the skin surface and improve lung expansion.
Unless there is a reason why the head of bed cannot be elevated, the backrest of the bed is kept elevated to reduce the number of secretions that may enter the lungs.
Physiotherapists will also assess and treat the patients to promote clearance of secretions from the lung and to exercise joints and limbs.