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Dedicated nurses recruited to reduce pressure injuries

2 October 2018

Dedicated group of nurses recruited to reduce pressure injuries

Canterbury District Health Board has recruited the first group of Pressure Injury Prevention Link Nurses, as part of a broader strategy funded by the Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) to reduce the incidence and severity of pressure injuries across Canterbury and the West Coast.

Pressure injuries are commonly known as bed sores, pressure ulcers, pressure sores and decubitus ulcers, and are mostly preventable.

“Pressure injuries have a devastating impact, not only on patients, residents and their families but also on staff and the healthcare system as a whole,” says Dr Nick Kendall, ACC’s Treatment Safety Manager. “For some patients, pressure injuries can take months or even years to heal, causing pain, distress and major disruption to their lives and livelihoods. ACC is pleased to be working with the Canterbury and West Coast communities to make the prevention of pressure injuries a priority.”

Each year it is estimated 55,000 New Zealanders sustain a pressure injury, with 3,000 people developing a pressure injury so serious that muscle, bone or tendon maybe exposed. Pressure injuries cause physical pain and discomfort, result in admission to hospital, longer hospital stays and in some cases, can even lead to death. In addition, treatment of pressure injuries is estimated to cost NZ $694 million each year.

“Data indicates that many more people are admitted to hospitals in Canterbury already experiencing pressure injuries than develop them while in hospital,” says Susan Wood, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, Canterbury and West Coast DHBs. “While we need to prevent pressure injuries in our hospitals, we are also focusing on community prevention and raising awareness of the risk factors and management strategies to prevent pressure injuries in the community and all health care facilities.”

The newly recruited Pressure Injury Prevention Link Nurses will be trained to teach, promote, monitor/undertake surveillance, and motivate their healthcare colleagues to deliver best practice in the prevention and management of pressure injuries.

The Accident Compensation Corporation funds and supports this pressure injury prevention initiative that will:

· empower patients and their families on how to prevent pressure injuries

· refocus attention on the basics of care, which includes skin assessments, making sure people keep moving when lying or sitting, are eating well and keeping their skin clean and dry

· refine and update pressure injury information across the community

· support Link Nurses to become pressure injury prevention clinical leaders

· establish an online forum for all health care professionals to come together to share ideas, resources, expertise and information to reduce the devastating impact of pressure injuries.

ends

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