Increasing the voice of Long Term Care and Hospices in Prevention of Pressure Ulcers in 2020

For those of you that know me, you will know I am often banging the drum about celebrating the work long term care staff do in all aspects of holistic care and how this impacts on pressure ulcer prevention.

From reports across multiple long term care (LTC) environments across the UK, pressure ulcer numbers appear much lower than community and acute settings.

Although we have our suspicions that this is because as a 24 hr care setting the residents get fantastic continuity of care, regular repositioning and nutrition monitoring, we need further research to deep dive into this hypothesis.

We cannot say for sure without supportive research and literature. There is ample literature to say that the aSSKINg standards are key to prevention, and some research looking at PU data in care homes. There is however a lack of UK research on long term care PU data.

I have witnessed some fantastic holistic care models in my training and have learnt a great deal. We know preventing pressure ulcers is more than providing a mattress or cushion. Just to keep people active and moving means addressing their social care needs, which requires a holistic assessment and understanding of the residents preferences and challenges.

Being in a 24 hr care setting as an ‘at risk’ resident is an ideal setting for preventing pressure ulcers. With assessment through to holistic care planning of the their social, psychological and physical needs that all play a part in protecting the skin. Having worked in the community setting for many years I have seen first hand where a persons skin has had severe deterioration and no longer able to cope at home being admitted to a LTC and have witnessed rapid improvement.

LTCs are fantastic communities and need to be celebrated and showcased as community and key preventers of harm.

I see time and again how long term care communities provide a setting with as much of a personal home environment as possible. From the amazing butterfly model for homes with dementia (see link), to care groups investing in supporting staff to become pressure care champions.

What there is still a lack of is platforms to share your amazing work and research and publications of themes and trends for pressure care in LTC.

Maybe this year you could conduct small scale in-house research and publish your quality improvement work and findings. This could be as simple as an audit and action plan, emerging themes in LTC and hospices. These themes come up again and again on the pressure care champion forums and I have written extensively in previous blogs. However, in-house research and wider dissection is needed to promote quality improvement work and shared practices.

There are many places you can share your work via journals and conferences and represent the work you are doing by sharing with patient saftey forums. For work that has moved the organisation forward think about sharing with awards such as HSJ and Patient first as well as local awarding representatives. This helps showcase your work to others and celebrate staff efforts. Often staff are not aware they are key pressure ulcer preventers until they see how well the PU numbers are in comparison to other organisations with their own set of challenges.

As pressure care champions I would love to see how you may want to celebrate this in 2020. Let me know if you would like any tips on how you may do this. It may be a simple audit which will inspire another organisation to look at their own process or demonstrate challenges and emerging themes or patterns. Alternatively it may be a rolled out training program promoting how to identify Category 1 PUs.

If you need ideas ask the Pressure Champion Network Facebook Group:

For you Tissue Viability Links/ Safeguarding/ Pressure Ulcer Champions, there is a fantastic conference which is free. Wound Care Today conference on the February 26th & 27th.