Carlton and Ian Bennett wards of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust are this week celebrating over a year pressure ulcer free.
Pressure ulcers, sometimes known as pressure sores or bed sores, occur when patients are stationary for extended periods.
Blood flow and oxygen is restricted to certain pressure points on the body resulting in damage to the skin surface and underlying tissue, which can manifest as gaping wounds.
These wounds vary in severity, from grades one to four, with grade four being the most severe where bone, tendon or muscle is exposed. Often preventable, pressure ulcers cost the NHS between £1.4 and £2.4 billion every year and in severe cases lead to life-threatening complications, such as blood poisoning or gangrene.
The older people’s mental health units, based at St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering, managed to prevent avoidable pressure ulcers for 383 days on the Carlton ward and 366 days on Ian Bennett - putting a stop to further patient complications.
Speaking on the milestone celebration David Bridge, modern matron, of Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the whole team, considering the complex nature of patient cases of both mental and physical health - this is a great achievement.
“This is very much a whole systems approach throughout the trust which started with training from the tissue viability nurses in proactive assessment and how to use the pressure relieving equipment appropriately - ensuring our patients receive timely assessment, the right equipment, ongoing inspection of their skin and making sure they have a healthy diet to support their recovery.
“We hope to build on our success with the move to the new older people’s unit later this year.”
This carries on from the success of Cransley and Cynthia Spencer hospices who have gone more than a year with no occurrences of avoidable pressure ulcers.
For more on pressure ulcer prevention visit www.nhft.nhs.uk/pressureulcers.