By Greg Whelan, Product & Marketing Director, Wellell UK Limited (uk.wellell.com)
Pressure Ulcers can be serious and lead to life threatening complications such as blood poisoning and gangrene. So knowing that this can happen what are the necessary steps to help prevent these and what obstacles do care home managers encounter that can give rise to these occurrences?
A simple understanding of how pressure ulcers occur and who is most likely to get them is important and equally how can they be prevented through appropriate equipment and turning regimes.
How does a pressure ulcer occur?
Pressure ulcers can happen when an area of skin and the tissues underneath it are damaged by being under such pressure that the blood supply is reduced commonly tending to occur when people spend long periods in a bed or chair.
Anyone living in a care home can develop a pressure ulcer, but some factors make it more likely.
Risk factors include:
• Limited mobility or being unable to change position without help.
• A loss of feeling in part of the body.
• Having had a pressure ulcer before or having one now.
• Not having eaten well for a period of time and/or being dehydrated.
• Thin, dry or fragile skin.
• A significant cognitive impairment.
What actions should take place?
For people living in care homes who have one or more risk factors and who have been referred to the community nurse, a pressure ulcer risk assessment should be carried out and documented on their first visit.
Make a written care plan for anyone assessed as being at high risk of developing a pressure ulcer and review it regularly. The plan should focus on the actions needed to help prevent a pressure ulcer from developing, taking into account:
• The results of the risk and skin assessment.
• The need for any extra pressure relief, for example a high-specification mattress and/or cushion.
• The person’s mobility and ability to change position unaided.
• Any other conditions.
• The person’s own views and wishes, including whether they are able to understand the risks and make an informed decision. If not, use of the Mental Capacity Act may be necessary.
But what obstacles will the care home manager face when managing Pressure Ulcers?
The care home manager once faced with a client suffering a pressure ulcer is potentially exposed to a long process of nursing intervention to manage the PU (PI – Pressure Injury now in more widespread use) to get to a stage where it has fully healed. Subject to the risk assessment carried out the care plan will identify what actions need to take place and regular turning on a suitable mattress is one of the critical factors in PI management and importantly, prevention.
Sometimes the added difficulty faced by the home is that of cost and staffing levels all of which can be managed more effectively by introducing suitable equipment to effect regular turning – both automatically and continuously, in cycles that can be identified in the Risk assessment needs and included in the care plan to be put into place.
Wellell UK Limited, a longstanding medical device manufacturer designed and introduced the cutting edge lateral turning mattress system, Optima Turn. With its multiple settings it can be used in step up and step down therapy to meet the needs of each client requiring the mattress and help either prevent or eradicate any newly acquired or historical PI whilst offering efficiency improvements, enhanced care, reduced staff moving and handling injuries and greater dignity to the client, especially when in a palliative state. Why not ask us to demonstrate the product to you and even trial it and see how we can prove not only its clinical credibility but also the huge cost savings that it can bring to each care home. After all, more efficient equipment means healthier clients, reduced stress levels on staff and happier family members of those clients in your care. If you would like more information please contact us via our website: https://uk.wellell.com/en/how-can-we-help or call on 01905 774 695
References taken from NICE Guidelines: https://www.nice.org.uk/about/nice-communities/social-care/quick-guides/helping-to-prevent-pressure-ulcers#repositioning-advice