The Trust saw October come and go without any severe HAPUs reported, the achievement coinciding with the run up to national ‘Stop the Pressure’ day on 15 November, which aims to increase awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the damaging impact of pressure ulcers.
A common problem in hospitals, HAPUs develop when a patient’s skin and underlying tissue become damaged, usually as a result of being confined to bed for long periods of time. The sores can range in severity from patches of discoloured skin to open wounds but the more serious occurrences can be very damaging. If undetected, these HAPUs can make patients susceptible to infections. They are also painful and can heal slowly.
Keen to tackle these sores, the Trust routinely goes above and beyond to provide great pressure ulcer prevention and has been providing bespoke education for its staff. DBTH’s wards have worked closely with their in-house Skin Integrity Team, using their knowledge and expertise to develop a pressure ulcer and prevention management strategy, ensuring that there are clear procedures and standards in place. Staff at the Trust have put a great deal of emphasis on the individual, pioneering what is known as ‘person-centered care’ which means tailoring treatment to specific patient needs, ultimately improving a hospital stay.
Recently, there has been a concentrated effort on engaging staff and motivating them to be vigilant and mindful of these sores. For instance, ‘Days Since’ signs are openly displayed at ward entrances, informing patients of when the last avoidable HAPU occurred. Meanwhile, a new award scheme has been put in place to motivate areas to hit key milestones, giving the staff something to be proud of, as well as targets to achieve, encouraging them to continuously improve good performance.
The work is also supported by projects such as ‘#EndPJParalysis’ and ‘24 Hour Rehab’, whereby patients are encouraged to move away from their beds and make use of each ward’s facilities, whether that’s getting up for a bite to eat or joining other patients in the day room to socialise or watch television.
Moira Hardy, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals at DBTH, said: “I am extremely pleased that we are seeing sustained improvements in patient care. It’s all thanks to the impressive work of our staff, who go above and beyond on a daily basis, putting best practice into action, for the benefit of our patients with their extraordinary dedication and proactive thinking. They really deserve a spotlight for taking such pride in their work and for consistently putting patient safety at the heart of everything they do.”
The Trust also achieved a severe HAPU free month in March 2018 and is continuing with the initiative to make this a frequent occurrence.
Photo shows: Members of the Skin Integrity Team and ward staff from the Surgical Assessment Unit at DRI.