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Reducing pressure damage is everybody’s business

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We have known about pressure damage for a long time, and although we have learned an awful lot about how to prevent and treat it, Jo Habben argues that we still have a long way to go to get it right

Pressure damage isn’t new. Florence Nightingale herself identified that it in some circumstances pressure ulcers could be attributed to deficits in nursing care.

It is so important for us to understand the pain, the discomfort and the significant life change it can mean for somebody when they develop a pressure ulcer. I truly believe that listening to patients is the most important learning objective for all healthcare and social care staff and the only way we can make true lasting improvements.

I was involved in running the latest KSS Patient Safety Collaborative pressure damage workshop and was really pleased that we had such a strong patient voice.

I am a nurse and quality and patient safety lead myself, but the big message that workshops such as this carry is that pressure damage is everybody’s business, not just nursing, clinicians and therapists, but very much part of the carer network and the patient network too. It is really important to listen to the experiences of patients who have themselves developed pressure ulcers.

There are pockets of excellent practice that neighbouring trusts and providers may not be aware of, so our objective is to bring all that learning together and measure its success. The most important thing to learn from each other is what’s working well, but we can also learn from hasn’t worked well and design processes around that.

With the healthcare landscape we have now, with multiple providers across organisations, it is vital that we learn from each other.

We were very lucky to have Dr Susanne Coleman from The University of Leeds deliver a masterclass in Purpose-T, a new risk assessment tool that is helping to drive significant reductions in pressure damage. Dr Coleman pointed out that it is important to note that the risk assessment is just that, and it is the care pathways that follow the initial and subsequent risk assessments that will make a major difference to patient experience and safety.

The workshop was a great success. With more than 100 people in the room and a large number of people who wanted to come but we couldn’t fit in, I am both hugely encouraged by the appetite of staff in Kent, Surrey and Sussex to reduce pressure damage and improve care for patients who do have pressure ulcers, and also certain that by working together we can achieve our ultimate goal of reducing pressure damage in all care settings.

You can find out about future PSC and AHSN workshops and seminars on our website


Jo Habben is clinical lead for the pressure damage workstream

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