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Hospital introduces new tool to cut pressure ulcer risk

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Nurses are using an information monitoring tool at Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to try and speed up the identification of patients who may be at risk of developing pressure ulcers.

The colour-coded innovation, which senior nurses say is easy to understand and use, is called the SKINS Communication Tool.

It records and updates important elements affecting the likelihood of patients developing pressure ulcers, including Waterlow score and MUST nutritional assessment.

The tool provides detailed information for all inpatients around the following aspects of care:

  • Surface – recording the type of mattress on which patients are lying
  • Keep moving – recording whether patients are mobile or not and whether they are at risk of falling
  • Incontinence; highlights patients who are potentially at risk of developing moisture lesions
  • Nutrition – displays patients’ MUST nutritional score, or whether a patient is diabetic
  • Skin assessment – records any evidence of skin damage

Fay Bayliss, the trust’s nursing quality and safety lead, said: “We think this is a very valuable tool in the prevention of pressure ulcers.

“This is an easy-to-understand, colour-coded system that is innovative because it is available to any staff at the touch of a button,” she said.

“It has many benefits including being able to inform handover when staff go on and off shifts”

Fay Bayliss

“It has many benefits including being able to inform handover when staff go on and off shifts,” she said.

“It can prompt the updating of patient risk assessments and matrons and head nurses can use it on their quality rounds to ensure that patients are on the correct mattress surface for their condition.”

Ms Bayliss added: “It will also ensure that patients who are nutritionally compromised have been referred to a dietician and helps us run reports on the location of alternating mattresses for high risk patients to allow us to better manage our resources.”

She said a SKINS audit tool had also been developed to help ensure all elements of the care bundle were adhered to, lessons learnt and any shortfalls identified.

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