Other Measures: Pressure Ulcer Prevention
What are pressure ulcers?
A pressure ulcer
, also called “bed sore”, is an injury to the skin and tissue under it. Pressure ulcers can occur in patients who are less active and may lie in bed or sit in chairs for long periods without moving.
Patients who have problems with skin wetness (from loss of bowel and bladder control), those who are not eating well, and those who do not feel pain from pressure are also at increased risk for developing pressure ulcers. Other risk factors include spinal cord injury, heart disease and diabetes.
Pressure ulcer damage can range from a change in the color of unbroken skin, to severe deep wounds down to muscle and bone.
Why is this important?
Patients who develop pressure ulcers while in the hospital are at greater risk for other medical problems, including infection and can stay in the hospital longer than otherwise expected.
What are we doing to reduce pressure ulcers?
At Hartford hospital, we have taken many steps to identify risk, prevent and treat pressure ulcers. These include:
- Routine checks on patient’s skin, on admission, after surgery and each day.
- The use of specialized pressure reduction mattresses on beds , stretchers and OR tables
- Planning and providing skin care based on each patient’s risk factors
- Teaching our caregivers the best way to prevent and treat pressure ulcers
- Employing nurses who specialize in skin and wound care
- Reviewing care to make sure it meets “best practice” standards
How do we measure our performance?
At Hartford Hospital, we measure pressure ulcers in 2 ways:
- Quarterly, we screen every patient in the hospital for the presence of a pressure ulcer on one day, and compare our performance against national benchmarks for similar hospitals.
- Daily occurrence of new pressure ulcers through Wound Nurse evaluations.
How are we doing at preventing pressure ulcers?
Overall, Hartford Hospital has improved its pressure ulcer rate when compared to past performance and compared to similar hospitals. Our nurses are working hard to reduce this rate even more.
Lower numbers are better.
What efforts are in place to improve performance?
At Hartford Hospital we have implemented a multidisciplinary Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team focused on identifying products, processes and protocols that will help prevent and treat pressure ulcers. Our Wound Care Team consists of board-certified wound care nurses and nutritionists, physical therapists and physicians. Multiple interventions have been put into place including a pressure ulcer risk assessment tool, specialty beds, dressings, unit-based skin care nurses and focus on high-risk patient outcomes.