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Stop the Pressure!

The L&D has joined the global campaign on pressure ulcer awareness “Stop the Pressure” which takes place from 17 – 20th November. Pressure ulcers – often known as bed sores – affect 700,000 people in England every year and can cause fatal infections. People with a pressure ulcer increase the risk of dying by up to 400% (ie a four fold mortality risk).

What is a pressure ulcer? A pressure ulcer is a skin wound which can result from sitting or lying in one position for too long. Jacqueline Warner, L&D’s Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Tissue Viability says, “Pressure ulcers can quickly get worse and lead to blood poisoning which can prove fatal. In the majority of cases the risk of pressure ulcers is greatest when the person is unwell and therefore less active or not eating or drinking as well. But, you don’t have to be unwell to get a pressure ulcer – they can affect any one of us whether young or old.”

Prevention: Prevention is the best cure for pressure ulcers. People who are bed-ridden should be turned at least every two hours and people sitting down all day should be encouraged to get up and move about every two hours – e.g. make a drink.

Pressure ulcers most commonly occur in community settings, affecting 20% of people in care homes. “By raising awareness among the public and healthcare professionals we can help prevent beds sores and improve the safety of people in care homes and hospital patients. The importance of raising awareness about pressure ulcers cannot be overstated,” said Nurse Warner.

At the L&D Hospital, in 97% of cases where a patient has a pressure ulcer the patient already had the pressure ulcer when they came into hospital – and a large proportion of these are people living in care homes.

There will be information stands at key public areas around the hospital with specialist staff on hand to offer advice and information to carers and relatives. The L&D is also hosting a one day conference for local healthcare professionals on 20th November to provide clinical education on pressure ulcer prevention and management.