Pressure ulcers/injuries are extremely prevalent, particularly in long-term and other care facilities, and primarily affect older adults, those with cognitive impairment, mobility issues or individuals who are bedfast. Understanding the best ways to prevent skin damage before it develops into a significant injury is critical to improving patient outcomes and reducing costs.1 This brief guide will introduce nurses and other health care professionals to pressure injury prevention best practices to reduce the risk of patients developing these preventable wounds.
Pressure injuries are very common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. In one recent survey, it was found that 26.7% of patients in a hospital had pressure injuries.2 The high rate of pressure injuries equates to significant time and resources spent on care and treatment. Some estimates place the cost of pressure injury treatment in the United States as high as $11.6 billion each year. This makes pressure injuries one of the most costly medical conditions.3
To reduce these costs and improve patient outcomes, it is important for nurses and other health care professionals to take a proactive approach focused on pressure injury prevention. By identifying at-risk patients and following best practices for pressure injury prevention, it may be possible to stop pressure injuries before they develop and reduce their impact if they occur. Below are six key steps you can take today to reduce a patient’s risk of developing a pressure injury:
By following these six steps and learning more about caring for at-risk individuals, health care professionals can begin taking action to reduce the rate of pressure injuries in their facility. Taking a proactive stance and working to fight these injuries before they develop are critical to reducing costs, workload, and complications for patients. 1
1. National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and Pan Pacific Pressure Injury Alliance. Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers: Quick Reference Guide. Emily Haesler, ed. Cambridge Media: Osborne Park, Western Australia; 2014.
2. Carson D, Witta K. Decreasing Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers by Focusing on Decreasing Moisture Associated Skin Damage. Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE). http://www.nicheprogram.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Solutions_skin_d…. Published 2007. Accessed October 24, 2017.
3. Berlowitz D, VanDeusen C, Parker V, et al. Preventing Pressure Ulcers in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/publications/files/putoolkit.p…. Accessed October 12, 2017.
4. Primiano M, Friend M, McClure C, et al. Pressure Ulcer Prevalence and Risk Factors among Prolonged Surgical Procedures in the OR. AORN J. 2011 Dec;94(6):555-66. doi:10.1016/j.aorn.2011.03.014.
5. Byrne J, Nichols P, Sroczynski M, et al. Prophylactic Sacral Dressing for Pressure Ulcer Prevention in High-Risk Patients. Am J Crit Care. 2016 May;25(3):228-34. doi: 10.4037/ajcc2016979
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.