Pressure ulcers can be a painful consequence of a lengthy hospital stay with the potential to add weeks, or even months, on to a patient’s recovery.
But while they are problematic, they are also avoidable, which is why community nurses across Swindon will be using this week’s international Stop the Pressure Day to let other healthcare staff know about what they can do to help prevent these painful injuries.
Expert nurses who care for patients in their homes will be meeting colleagues at the North Swindon base of Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, located at the Orbital Shopping Park, on Friday 17 November to raise awareness of the condition.
Pressure ulcers are skin injuries that develop after an area of the body – such as the hips or lower spine – is put under pressure for a prolonged period of time.
While they can affect anyone, sores are most common in people with limited mobility, such as those in a hospital bed or wheelchair.
Laura Deville, Tissue Viability Nurse, said: “Our message is that pressure ulcers should be everybody’s business.
“The rationale behind Stop the Pressure Day is to make all healthcare staff aware of just how serious pressure ulcers can be and, more importantly, the practical steps that can be taken to stop them from developing at all.
“Our day is open to everyone. You do not need to be a nurse to help make a difference in prevention.”
Staff visiting the Orbital on Friday will be able to take part in educational quizzes, look at the equipment used to prevent pressure ulcers and put questions directly to the community nursing team, many of whom are caring for patients suffering from the condition every day.
Currently, patients in Swindon experience the lowest number of pressure ulcers in the South West with only around five in every 15,000 inpatients at the Great Western Hospital expected to develop an injury.
This is a reduction of more than 60 per cent when compared to 2015 and can be linked to all inpatients now being given a skin assessment within two hours of admission.
Tackling pressure ulcers has for the last few years been one of the Trust’s most important Sign up to Safety pledges and a key component of 500 Lives – the ongoing campaign to save an extra 500 lives by 2020.