Today, 15th November 2018, is Worldwide Stop Pressure Ulcer Day. This special day focuses on raising the awareness of the problem of pressure ulcers, worldwide.
The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) promote this special event to increase international awareness for pressure ulcer prevention. Although much has been done in the field of pressure ulcer prevention, they are still an issue in many care settings, although through education many pressure ulcers are preventable.¹
What are Pressure Ulcers?
When the blood flow is blocked to our skin and underlying tissue, the tissues can be damaged and a pressure ulcer develops. This interruption of blood flow can occur as a result of sitting or lying down for a period of time, thus applying excessive pressure without relief.
Other factors that may contribute the cause of a pressure ulcer are shear, friction over the skin, moisture and poor nutrition. Pressure ulcers are more likely to occur in the elderly and the immobile.
The NHS Safety Thermometer concluded that from April 2014 to March 2015, as many as 25,000 patients developed a new pressure ulcer in the UK². According to the NHS, pressure ulcers affect approximately 20% of all patients in acute care settings in the UK³.
Anyone can potentially develop a pressure ulcer in any clinical or residential environment. It is generally understood that pressure ulcers are a major consequence of acute or long-term patient immobility.¹
Anyone can potentially develop a pressure ulcer
The EPUAP advise that caregivers should periodically turn and reposition immobile patients to prevent the development of pressure ulcers by facilitating the reduction of pressure exerted on the skin which can aid in reducing the risk of tissue damage.
A pressure redistributing surface with microclimate management can aid in the control and regulate the temperature and moisture where the support surface is in direct contact with the skin. Regulating these factors can help sustain skin integrity and therefore prevent and help with healing pressure ulcers.⁴
According to the economics of patient safety published in March 2017, by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), pressure ulcers are an example of prevalent harm in acute and long-term care settings that can be avoided by implementing preventive measures.⁵
This report mentions several studies demonstrating that taking action towards preventing pressure ulcers is desirable from an economical and humanitarian perspective, such as Bayoumi et al (2008), Schuurman, JP et al (2009), Demarré et al (2015).
Please join us to Stop Pressure Ulcers on 15th November and help educate the public and increase pressure ulcer awareness by highlighting the risk factors contributing to pressure ulcers and discussing how they can be prevented.
1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Clinical Guideline CG179. Pressure ulcers: prevention and management.
2. Clinical Audit Support Unit, Health & Social Care Information Centre. NHS Safety Thermometer: Patient harm and harm free care April 2014-2015 official statistics. May 2015 http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB17488/nhs-safe-rep-apr-2014-apr-2015.pdf (Accessed 01.11.18)
3. Sources: NHS (2010). NHS to adopt zero tolerance approach to pressure ulcers, National Patient Safety Agency, http://www.npsa.nhs.uk/corporate/news/nhs-to-adopt-zerotolerance-approach-to-pressure-ulcers (Accessed 01/11/18). Moore, Z. (2011). A randomized controlled clinical trial of repositioning, using the 30° tilt,- for the prevention of pressure ulcers, Journal of Clinical Nursing. Shoker, H. (2010). Taking the Pressure off NHS Resources: Walsall Hospital’s NHS Trust Pilots ArjoHuntleigh’s Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Outcome Assessment, ArjoHuntleigh
4. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Clinical Practice Guideline. Emily Haesler (Ed.). Cambridge Media: Osborne Park, Western Australia; 20141.
5. Slawomirski L, A. Auraaen and N. Klazinga (2017), "the economics of patient safety: strenghtening a value-based approach to reducing patient harm at national level, OECD Health Working Papers, No. 96, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5a9858cd-en (Accessed 01.11.18)