Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust has taken delivery of 114 special pressure-relieving mattresses, as part of continuing efforts to reduce the number of severe ulcers acquired by inpatients.
The new Karomed Transair mattresses work by detecting pressure points on a patient’s body, such as the shoulders, buttocks and heels.
“It’s far better to prevent a skin ulcer from occurring than treat one once it has developed”
The skin is protected from friction and pressure damage by the many air-filled cushions or cells located inside the mattress, which gently inflate and deflate via an electric pump.
The mattresses are being used by all patients coming into emergency departments and assessment areas at the trust’s three hospitals – Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital.
Tracy Vernon, the trust’s lead nurse for tissue viability, said: “Our view is that we assess these patients as being at very high risk of developing a pressure ulcer even though they may be fine. It’s far better to prevent a skin ulcer from occurring than treat one once it has developed.”
Announcing the introduction of the mattresses, Doncaster and Bassetlaw said “protecting patients from painful pressure ulcers is a top priority”.
The trust’s quality account for the year 2012-13, which was published this time last year, highlighted its disappointment at not achieving the standards it “expected” in several areas, including hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.
Despite an objective to achieve zero level 3 and 4 hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by 22 October 2012, the trust noted a “deteriorating picture of harm” during 2012-13.
The report showed the number of grade 3 pressure ulcers had more than doubled from 65 to 153, while the number of grade 4 ulcers had only dropped from five to four.
The report stated that standards were not being met in curbing pressure ulcers and that doing so was a “priority” for the year 2013-14.
The trust has yet to publish its latest quality account, which would reveal progress in the 12 months up to the end of March 2014, and would not disclose further data to Nursing Times.
Instead, the trust issued the following statement from Richard Parker, trust director of nursing, midwifery and quality.
He said: “We’ve introduced the new mattresses, replacement chairs and foot stools as part of implementing our new tissue viability strategy, which aims to significantly reduce the number of hospital acquired pressure ulcers to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients.”