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Can pressure ulcer incidence be used as a measure of nursing care?

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Key points

  • Safety Express is a national programme to minimise the four main avoidable harms in healthcare, one of which is pressure ulcers
  • Treating pressure ulcers is costly and eliminating them could save the NHS over £150m a year
  • Pressure ulcers are more likely to occur in patients who are elderly, malnourished, dehydrated, obese and/or with underlying medical conditions
  • The NHS Safety Thermometer and serious incident reporting can be used to measure the incidence and prevalence of pressure ulcers
  • Nurses have a role in monitoring the incidence of pressure ulcers

Let’s discuss

  • What organisational factors contribute to pressure ulcer development in your clinical area? After reading this article how could you address these issues?
  • What measures should be in place to ensure pressure ulcers are avoided? How would you explain and demonstrate these to a student nurse?
  • How would you define an unavoidable pressure ulcer?
  • The authors say that elimination of avoidable grade 2, 3, and 4 pressure ulcers can be used as an outcome measure for nursing care.
  • Explain how essential care including; hydration, nutrition, medication management and personalized care reduces the risk of pressure ulcers.
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