Hospital campaign puts pressure on ulcers

Urgent care consulting room at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.
Urgent care consulting room at Hemel Hempstead Hospital.
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A hospital trust has had no recorded cases of the worst type of pressure ulcers for more than two years.

Across Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Watford Hospitals – run by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust – there have been no grade 4 ulcers (the most severe) for over two years.

More recently, the numbers of grade 3 ulcers are down by 75 per cent – and there were none at all in September.

The Trust is also making inroads with grade 2 ulcers, which have reduced by 40 per cent.

Pressure ulcers are a painful and sometimes serious condition that primarily affects people who are permanently or temporarily immobile.

These latest figures are thanks to the ‘hugely successful’ BEST SHOT campaign, which was introduced at the end of last year.

As part of the changes, pressure ulcer documentation was made easier to find and access for ward staff.

Matrons were also given the responsibility of checking the status of all pressure ulcers in their area on a regular basis

The Trust reviewed the equipment available and bought new pressure-relieving cushions and mattresses.

A ‘Skin Champions’ role was introduced on the ward, which is a nurse who ensures collaborative work between the tissue viability team, nutritionists and continence team – all of whom play an important part in addressing or preventing pressure ulcers.

Tracey Carter, Chief Nurse, said: “The BEST SHOT campaign has made a fantastic impact on improving the care we provide for patients, helping to protect them from developing ulcers in the first place, or, if they do occur, quickly addressing them before they become more serious.

“The success of the campaign is down to the dedication of the staff, but more specifically the excellent suggestions that came from the frontline staff.

“It’s also a wonderful example of the power of formally bringing together the skills of a range of different specialisms, to benefit the patients.”