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Hospital takes action after nurses fail to prevent pressure ulcers death


There have been changes at Leeds General Infirmary since nursing failures led to the death of an 86-year-old war veteran from pressure ulcers three years ago, says RCN regional officer Janine Dyson.

Ms Dyson’s assurance follows the award of £20,000 by Leeds hospitals to the family of Kenneth Ballinger, who suffered from extensive pressure ulcers, some the size of a fist.

She reports that the problem of pressure ulcers has since been picked up by regional health authorities, which have emphasised the priority of dignity in care.

Her comments follow a statement by Maureen Idle, spokeswoman for watchdog Leeds Hospital Alert and herself a former nurse, that preventing bed sores is basic nursing.

She has stressed that nurses must take extra care with older patients, who are less mobile than younger people.

She says: “There is no excuse for anyone of any age to have pressure ulcers, especially now you have got the lifting equipment. This is basic nursing skills and it should not happen on any ward.

“I don’t think you need specialist training. The fact that these people are less able and less mobile needs that extra care. It is basic nursing care. I think there should be more practical nursing now than theory.”


Readers' comments (6)

  • When I first started nursing, there were no air mattesses. Immobile patients were repositioned 2hrly, incontinence aids such as pads were a no no, yet pressure sores were rare!
    Now, these air matresses are treated as labour saving devices and patients are left in one position too long. As for incontinence pads, I have heard some nurses tell patients to 'use their pad; when they have requested the toilet. It makes me so angry.

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  • I worked as a charge nurse in mental health on an older adult ward in the mid 80's and agree with the above comment that pressure area care is part of basic nursing care. Prevention was always better than cure and good pressure area relief along with good skin care is essential.
    The best wound dressings in the world will not heal a pressure sore oncce had devoloped, only total pressure relief of the affected area will allow it to heal. I must admit pressure relief became an obsession of mine but it works.

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  • Why is an “RCN regional officer” acting as an apologist for Leeds Teaching Hospitals? Do RCN members know their professional body is now acting as PR (that’s public relations rather than what you might first think!) for NHS organisations that fail those in their care?

    Surely it should be the Director of Nursing or the Director of Quality (yes there is one in Leeds) that should be explaining precisely what changes, beyond making sure nurses actually do their jobs properly, have been made?

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  • Pressure sores weren't common! Yeah right!

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  • I trained in the 70's and to have a preesure sore on your ward was bad nursing. bring back the back trolley, we wre told that scientific evidence says that rubbing pressure area's with soap and water does not work. well it did in my day along with 2 hourly turns.wonder if this with turn full cycle and we will see this again. hope i see this before i retire

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  • I am one of Kenneth Ballinger's 10 grandchildren and I have recently completed training as a specialist nurse for infection control as a result of my great grandfather's death. I am still shocked that the NHS stooped to such a low level of care for someone who risked his life on multiply occasions for this country. To anyone who reads this who works on a ward or in a situation where caring for people is part of your profession please try to (and I know how hard it is and the amount of pressure there is) but please try your best to pick up on the simple things that we sometimes miss. It may not seem it but it can be a matter of life or death. Lydia

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