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100% success rate for reducing pressure ulcers
After just eight months from the launch of 1000 Lives Campaign, staff at ABM University NHS Trust were already reporting benefits to patients.
A number of important pilot projects are underway, including the Pressure Ulcer Reduction scheme, which aims to prevent patients from developing pressure ulcers, commonly known as bed sores.
Pressure ulcers are a common problem for patients who have limited mobility, who sit or lie in one position for long times. Because blood flow is restricted by the pressure of their weight on parts of their body, the result can be severe tissue damage.
Unfortunately pressure ulcers can lead to patients needing surgery and long stays in hospital, and in extreme cases, death.
The ABM pilot is already showing that simple measures can help prevent these ulcers developing in the first place.
A ward in Morriston Hospital has been piloting a system of care checks, and since the 1000 Lives Campaign was launched at the end of April, not one patient on the ward has developed a pressure ulcer.
Nigel Broad is Senior Charge Nurse at Morriston’s Anglesey Ward, where the Pressure Ulcer Reduction pilot has achieved a 100 per cent success rate so far. Nigel said; “A lot of people don't realise pressure ulcers are a big issue. They cost the NHS in the UK £2.4 billion a year – which is 4% of the NHS budget. One in 10 admissions to acute hospitals either has or gets a pressure ulcer.
“The impact on the patient is devastating, with prolonged management of dressings; and in some cases needing major reconstructive surgery for the ulcer.
“This can mean a lengthy stay in hospital, sometimes a couple of months at any one time. Unfortunately, it can also lead to death, with the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve being an example of this.”
He explained that a package of measures called the SKIN Bundle was introduced at the end of April, which is a checklist of good practices for managing vulnerable patients, particularly those with limited mobility. By ensuring the SKIN Bundle was used consistently, pressure ulcers were being avoided.
“With the development and implementation of the SKIN bundle by the staff on Anglesey ward on the 28th April 2008, no new pressure ulcers have been recorded,” he said.
“The SKIN bundle is a simple tool to use and is obviously effective when used properly. This has clear measurable improvements for the quality of care we provide for the patient.
“The 1000 Lives Campaign has put the focus on reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers, and that really is a good thing.”
And it isn’t just Morriston Hospital where excellent results are being recorded over pressure ulcer prevention. New Initiatives which reflect the ethos of the SKIN bundle have been introduced on Ward 16 at the Princess of Wales Hospital and Ward E at Neath Port Talbot Hospital and both wards have also reported no pressure ulcers developing during 2008.
Karen Kimberley, Tissue Viability Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “It is excellent news that we are seeing a reduction in the numbers of patients developing these mostly preventable ulcers. This is good news for patients and good news for the NHS as a whole.”
Last updated: 25/02/2009