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We cut pressure ulcer rates by half

24 Aug 2010 12:16:25

 Rotherham Hospital has successfully managed to reduce its rates of pressure ulcers by 50%.

The number of patients with pressure ulcers has fallen dramatically from 87 to 42, and this has been achieved through improved training, enhanced care plans and emphasis on evaluating care and taking appropriate action.

A photograph of Tissue Viability Nurse Steph Shappard and Sister Gloria TysonLead Nurse for Tissue Viability Steph Sheppard said: “Pressure ulcers are a painful area of damaged skin and tissue which can be caused by excess pressure
and immobility. A patient’s medical condition can also put them at risk.

Ulcers can be an unfortunate consequence of a stay in hospital as patients can
be stationary in a bed or chair for long periods of time.

“By making improvements to our processes and taking a collaborative approach with matrons, physios and occupational therapists, we have made a real impact on reducing the instances of patients developing pressure ulcers. The results we are seeing are fantastic and it means in some instances patients have a better experience at the hospital and it prevents a delay in their discharge.

“Better team work and improved communication between departments and wards has meant we have seen a big reduction in cases across the Trust, particularly surgery, and everyone in the Trust is working hard to get the numbers down even further.”

According to the Department of Health in the UK, it’s estimated that between four and 10% of all patients admitted to hospital will develop at least one pressure ulcer. For older people with mobility problems, the figure can be as high as 70%. Even with the best possible medical and nursing care, pressure ulcers can be difficult to prevent in vulnerable or older people and difficult to treat.

The estimated annual cost of pressure ulcers in the UK is approximately £2 billion which accounts for about 4% of the NHS budget. The Government is trying to drive down this cost and has introduced guidelines for hospitals to help achieve this.

Steph said: “We have started to achieve savings across the Trust but our main aim is to improve the care and experience for patients whilst they are with us.  Lots of different factors contribute to the occurrence of pressure ulcers so we will never be able to stop them all, but we have made a big difference for many patients and made their time with us more comfortable.”

As part of the continued commitment from front line staff and the improved use of care planning to reduce pressure ulcers, more training will be implemented across the Trust.

Another project will also be launched in September to enable healthcare workers to focus on reducing instances of patients developing ulcers on their heels after surgery, as this is a very vulnerable area of the body, especially for older people or patients with diabetes. The Trust’s ultimate aim is for no patient to
develop an avoidable pressure ulcer in the future.


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