In the United States, complications from hospital-acquired pressure ulcers cause an alarming 60,000 deaths each year. Although there are various established – and effective – methods to address and heal a pressure ulcer, prevention is the key.
In a recent article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, editors outlined ways in which acute-care health providers can keep pressure ulcers from ever forming. They explained that strategies to do so could either consist of individual or multicomponent interventions.
“The authors concluded that using support surfaces, regularly repositioning the patient, optimizing nutritional status and moisturizing sacral skin are appropriate strategies for preventing pressure ulcers,” the article relayed. “Other reviews and guidelines stress the importance of initial and repeated assessment of patients’ risk, tailored care for individual found to be at increased risk and regular skin examinations.”
Further research also highlighted the benefits that can come from bundling care practices into regular routines. This approach could be delivered under an umbrella theme, such as “Save our Skin,” where three to five interventions would be carried out in one setting.
“Besides bundling care practices, experts recommend that attention be paid to organizational and care coordination components,” said the editors of the article. “Organizational components include selecting lead team membership, establishing policies and procedures, evaluating quality processes, education staff, using skin champions and communicating written care plans.”
By integrating the importance of skin health into a health care company’s culture, patient health is bound to improve. When staff are asked to attend regular meetings to discuss hurdles and successes, pressure ulcer care will be easier to deliver and understand. Furthermore, staff will have increased opportunities to communicate and learn from one another.