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'React to Red Skin and help to prevent pressure ulcers'

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It’s time for the message of preventing pressure ulcers to reach patients and carers, says Vanessa McDonagh

Avoiding pressure ulcers is still high on the agenda of health and social care providers, with tissue viability nurses delivering education and raising awareness among health professionals.

Safety Thermometer data and monthly incidence monitoring where I work shows low numbers of both hospital-acquired and care home pressure ulcers. Data shows patients admitted with pressure ulcers from their own homes, without health or social care interventions, are now in the majority.

The React to Red Skin campaign is the latest pressure ulcer prevention campaign to be held here by the tissue viability team. Launched on STOP Pressure Ulcer Day 2013, it follows on from our successful 100 Days Free and Heel Watch campaigns. Its main message is that if members of the public react to red skin over bony areas and ask a health professional for help, we can stop red skin becoming a serious wound.

Initially the campaign was aimed at patients, families and carers visiting the trust but this has now evolved into an ongoing staff awareness and educational programme and has led to partnership working across the region. The aim is to educate as many health and social care providers as possible, and to raise awareness among the public of the risks associated with pressure ulcers and how to avoid them.

React to Red Skin initially included patient education leaflets, posters, use of the logo on car parking tickets as well as promotion on the trust website, radio station, in-patient televisions and on social media. Staff awareness was also raised by pledges, education and workbooks.

Community partners include Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Coventry City Council and Your Turn. This has led to developing and delivering education programmes for care homes and social care providers, with accreditation for care providers who meet certain standards. Patient and carer information is available in GP practices, libraries and pharmacies with contact numbers for advice, and a website with information and downloadable educational resources.

This collaborative work to reduce pressure ulcers is another step to educating heath professionals and giving patients and families advice and support. Ongoing data collection will assess the impact of the campaign across the region.

STOP Pressure Ulcer Day 2014 is on 20 November and an ideal opportunity for increased focus to be given to this issue. UHCW will be joining in with a full week of awareness events for staff, patients and carers. Information and literature can be downloaded from the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel’s website. The event will also be supported by NHS Midlands and East, the Stop the Pressure campaign and Your Turn, with events and information on their websites. How will you be raising the profile of pressure ulcer prevention in your area?

Vanessa McDonagh is tissue viability clinical nurse specialist, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • immediately ! Act on the causal factors for red skin. Erythema can be an indication of compromised circulation due to pressure. We need to be constantly vigilant and proactive.
    there is nothing worse than a preventable skin ulcer due to poor practice.

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