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Trust Celebrates 95% Reduction In Avoidable Pressure Ulcers

Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team
The Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team with independent wound care consultant Jacqui Fletcher

7 July 2017

Inpatients at Crewe’s Leighton Hospital are safer than ever from harm following the introduction of a team focused on eliminating avoidable pressure ulcers.

The Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team formed in November 2016 and since then, thanks to a number of initiatives and the support of staff, avoidable pressure ulcers have reduced at the hospital by more than 95%.

A pressure ulcer, also known as a bedsore or pressure sore, is an injury to the skin or underlying tissue caused by pressure, friction or moisture. They can be extremely uncomfortable and in some cases result in severe harm.

Around 186,000 patients across the country develop a pressure ulcer in hospital each year, but with the right interventions for prevention and treatment the majority are avoidable.

After seeing an increase in hospital acquired pressure ulcers since 2015/16, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), which manages Leighton Hospital, appointed Divisional Head of Nursing Sally Mann to lead the newly formed Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team. 

The team includes Kirsty Howard, Skin Care Specialist Nurse, and Stefanie Mahan, Tissue Viability Specialist Nurse, who work alongside Quality Matron Laura Egerton in leading the way in harm prevention.

Sally said: “Reducing avoidable pressure ulcers by 95% is an incredible achievement.

“This is not just a result of the team’s work - staff from across the organisation have engaged and helped to raise awareness so that those in our care experience no additional harm.”

As part of the team’s work, the Trust has been taking part in the national ‘React to Red’ campaign, which is committed to educating as many people as possible about the dangers of pressure ulcers and the simple steps that can be taken to avoid them.

Information boards have been placed at the end of ward bays at Leighton Hospital to remind staff how often patients need to be repositioned, and visual aids introduced for staff to keep track of harm free days in their area.

The Pressure Ulcer Prevention Team also identified ‘hot spot’ areas to receive intensive weekly support, engaged with a regional pressure ulcer group, and led education and training for both staff and patients.

Alison Lynch, Director of Nursing and Quality at the Trust, added: “This is not just great news for the organisation, but for our local population. Staff have shown great team work and leadership to reduce harm in our most vulnerable patients.”

To celebrate the reduction, and to raise further awareness of the skin injury, the Trust held its first ever pressure ulcer conference in June 2017.

More than 100 people attended the event, which included a number of exhibitors and a motivational talk by independent wound care consultant Jacqui Fletcher.

Guests also took part in the ‘Pressure Area Challenge’, a national competition for NHS trusts to identity the different pressure points on the body in the shortest amount of time.

Mark Radford, NHSI’s Director of Nursing for Improvement, recently visited Leighton Hospital to learn more about the team’s work and other quality improvements being made at the Trust.