Posted by:6 July, 2011
I have been really interested in your debate about the effectiveness of 30 degree tilts to reduce pressure ulcers.
I have two thoughts, one professional and the other personal.
My first thought is if we know how to prevent skin breakdown, why is pressure ulceration still a major problem?
Several weeks ago, Judy Harker, a tissue viability nurse consultant, talked about the challenges of pressure ulcer prevention and the work underway to improve care. The problem is that although we have guidelines, the supporting evidence is surprisingly poor.
I agree research into essential care can sometimes feel like “teaching your grandmother to suck eggs”. But looking forward we are facing very different challenges of caring for older, sicker and more dependent patients, and this must demand systemic investigation. We need to know more about individual risk factors and how interventions can be used efficiently and effectively.
On a personal note, both my parents died in recent years.
My father died with a grade 4 pressure ulcer and my mother with ulcers on both heels.
I wish the staff had known about 30 degree tilts, turning and mattresses. They both died with infected, painful wounds which could have been prevented if every nurse involved in their care had thought about their complex health problems and understood their risk factors, hypoxia, neuropathy etc etc..
This shouldn’t happen and any research that improves nurses’ knowledge has to be a step in the right direction.
Judy Harker noted a possible link between the value a nurse places on pressure ulcer prevention and the patient care that they deliver. Discussing ways to improve care is essential and we have to work together as a nursing community to find solutions.
Looking at your debate about 30 degree tilts, I note one brave contributor who put his hand up and said “I didn’t know that”.
I am absolutely sure he is not the only one.
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