Pressure injuries can be a painful and unnecessary experience. Everyone in a caring role – both formal and informal – can play a part in helping to avoid them.
To spread this message, Southern DHB is supporting International Stop Pressure Injury Day today (15 November), a global campaign to raise awareness of pressure injuries to the public and health care professionals, and highlight the need for effective prevention of them.
Pressure injuries – also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores – can start with a reddened patch which can develop into a complex wound, sometimes extending down to the bone.
The DHB is marking the day with a public information display in the foyer of Dunedin Hospital and at Southland Hospital. Training sessions and information will be available to educate and raise awareness for all staff.
“Pressure injuries have a huge impact on patients in terms of their quality of life, and over the past few years the DHB has been working very hard to assess risk and to prevent and manage pressure injuries,” says Southern DHB Pressure Injury Prevention Programme Co-ordinator, Judy Walker.
Continual education takes place throughout the year. As well as being provided in the hospital setting, it is provided to rest homes, general practice nurses, district nurses and allied health professionals to ensure best practice and prevention across the whole health care system.
Southern DHB is working to decrease the incidence of pressure ulcers, not only through education but through risk assessments, audits, and above all, best practice.
“Pressure injuries are a major cause of harm and yet they are virtually entirely preventable. Our wound care nurse specialists do amazing work educating our teams, patients and families on how we can reduce the incidence of pressure injuries both in hospital and in the community,” says Southern DHB Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Jane Wilson.
About pressure injuries/bed sores
Anyone can suffer from pressure injuries, but they usually affect people with little movement such as being confined to a bed, a chair or a wheelchair for long periods of time.
To help prevent and manage pressure injuries, ensure that you or your loved one:
- has a supportive and pressure relieving surface for sitting and lying down
- changes their position regularly to stop any ‘bony’ areas from becoming sore
- stays dry and clean
- eats healthily and drinks frequently
- is checked regularly for red areas and soreness, including under or around medical devices such as catheters.
For more information go to: https://www.nzwcs.org.nz/resources/stop-pi-day/public-resources and https://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/pressure-injury-prevention/