Stop Pressure Ulcers Day - NELFT teams help raise awareness | News and events

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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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Stop Pressure Ulcers Day - NELFT teams help raise awareness

NELFT teams helped to raise awareness of Stop Pressure Ulcers Day on Thursday 16 November. The aim was to increase awareness of pressure injury prevention and to educate the public on pressure ulcers. Tissue viability teams across the Trust marked the day with a range of different activities.

Our tissue viability nurses staged a ‘Twitter takeover’ of the NELFT corporate account and shared information on recognising and preventing pressure ulcers. Teams also spent the day working with colleagues and the general public to raise awareness of the impact that pressure ulceration can have on lives and the simple steps that can be taken to prevent these life changing injuries. 

The tissue viability team also hosted an event at the local library in Harold Hill, where they were able to share information with members of the local community. 

Staff were asked to ‘adopt a pressure ulcer’ by wearing a red sticker on an ‘at risk’ area and talking to anyone who pointed it out about pressure ulcers and their prevention. NELFT colleagues at all levels, from our CEO, nurses, reception staff, AHPs and the corporate team also took part in the campaign. 

Pressure ulcer reduction at NELFT

While raising awareness of pressure ulcers is important, it is of course of greater importance that the momentum is maintained and that this work remains ongoing. NELFT has worked hard to significantly reduce the number of serious incident pressure ulcers developed by patients in our care by 45% over the last two years. 

We spoke to Debbie Wickens, senior tissue viability specialist nurse, to find out more about this work:

Where did the project to reduce SI pressure ulcers start from? 

This work began with a national target to reduce pressure ulcers – evidence showed that between 80% and 95% of pressure ulcers are preventable and the NHS set targets to reduce preventable pressure ulcers. NELFT’s previous process for investigation took place on a case by case basis and there was less opportunity for joined up learning across the organisation than there is now.

What work was undertaken to reduce SI pressure ulcers?

NELFT has been piloting a new investigation process to learn from pressure ulcers that occur in our care. The multi-incident panel hears evidence from the staff involved in the day-to-day care of patients with a serious incident pressure ulcer. This enables us to capture richer information about the circumstances around the development of the wound and to join up learning from a number of incidents on a thematic basis. Directorates and the pressure ulcer working groups can then action this learning.

We have also developed specialist documentation bundles to help staff complete detailed risk assessments, leaflets and alert cards for patients and carers and have held annual education events for carers and families.

Why is it so important to make sure we are doing our best to reduce these SIs? 

Around 700,000 people in the UK will be affected by a pressure ulcer each year and pressure ulcers can be life changing injuries and even result in death. 

The annual cost of caring for pressure ulcers in the UK is estimated to be between £1.4 billion to £2.2 billion (NICE 2004). We estimate a cost of approximately £6.9 million in pressure ulcer care in the NELFT/BHRUT economy over the past six months.

What does the future hold for this project? 

The group is ongoing and is expanding its work to look at the wider context of care, including the education of the public and carers, as well as more effective information sharing between agencies.

The tissue viability team have now started filming a NELFT #stopthepressure video. For this, they have been working closely with a service user whose life has been changed by a pressure ulcer and we are sure that his story will have a big impact on everyone who hears it.

Once completed, the video will be used for training and to raise awareness on social media platforms.

Thanks to Debbie for speaking to us and for her tireless work to raise awareness of pressure ulcers.

For more information about the day, take a look at the NELFT Twitter ‘moment’ at: