29 October 2015

Resources to prevent pressure ulcers shared on #NurChat

Pressure ulcers are estimated to affect nearly 700,000 people a year in the UK, with just over 180,000 of those acquired during a hospital stay. They can cause severe pain to the patient, not to mention the additional costs of treatment. They can even put a patient at risk of death by infection.

World Stop the Pressure Day is approaching on 19th November 2015 and in this #NurChat we wanted to help raise awareness of this often preventable condition.

Many tissue viability nurses, student nurses and other healthcare professionals shared their knowledge and experiences of pressure ulcers during the #NurChat discussion. Some of the tools and resources that are currently being used in pressure ulcer management and education are:

The Braden Score - founded in 1998 by Barbara Braden and Nancy Bergstrom

React to Red Skin Campaign - Your Turn, National campaign for the prevention of pressure sores

Waterlow Score – developed by then Clinical Nurse Teacher, Judy Waterlow MBE.

SSKIN – NHS Stop the Pressure toolkit

ASKIN – Skin bundle management tool

Planning for prevention was highlighted as a key approach to take, but one that it is slightly different from assessing for risk. The three most common areas for pressure ulcers to form were reported as the heels, base of the back and bottom. Common interventions included:

  • Intentional rounding to carry out checks on patients
  • Regular turning of patients who are unable to mobilise themselves
  • Body map recording of at risk areas
  • Use of barrier creams and air mattresses where appropriate
  • Frequent incontinence management to minimise moisture
  • Offering drinks at every opportunity

Staffing levels were closely equated to the capability of a department to effectively manage the prevention of avoidable pressure ulcers. The need for staff training was also highlighted as it was reported that not all organisations feature mandatory training for their staff. Some student nurses also reported no formal training in their courses as yet.

The value of tissue viability nurses could not be overstated, many felt they were essential for sharing their specialist expertise with other nursing and care staff. For example, there are so many mattresses available that one student nurse said without the input of a tissue viability nurse it would be confusing to know which one would be the most appropriate for the individual.

This #NurChat was co-hosted with national movement Your Turn, who are working to reduce the number of pressure ulcer occurrences in the UK.

#NurChat returns on 10th November 2015 at 8pm. Keep up to date with upcoming discussions at nurchat.co.uk.