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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

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Home > News > Pressure ulcers in North Cumbria's hospitals reduce by half

Pressure ulcers in North Cumbria's hospitals reduce by half

Posted on Thursday 1st December 2016
Pressure ulcers in North Cumbria's hospitals reduce by half

The latest patient data shows that cases of pressure ulcers at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) is 50 per cent lower than this time last year.

In November 2015, six months into the financial year, 279 pressures ulcers had been identified in inpatients across both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. So far this year in the Trust there has only been 140 pressure ulcers.

Pressure ulcers – sometimes known as bed sores or pressure sores - are an injury that breaks down the skin and underlying tissue. They are caused when an area of skin is placed under pressure, such as lying or sitting for long periods of time.

The Trust has so far met its own internal target, which it set last year, of reducing pressure ulcers by 50 per cent. The aim is for the overall 2016/17 target to be 300 cases or lower, a 50 per cent reduction from the 599 pressure ulcer cases in 2015/16. The focus has been moved from not just grade 3/4 pressure ulcers (the most severe) but to reducing all grades of damage.

Tissue Viability education, which covers prevention and management of pressure ulcers, is delivered to all frontline staff through the mandatory training programme. The Trust also employs Tissue Viability Nurses to help tackle instances of pressure ulcers at both hospital sites.  

Out of all the wards, six have gone from having various cases of pressure ulcers in 2015/16 to having none at all this year.

Maurya Cushlow, executive director of nursing and midwifery at the Trust, said: “This reduction is very encouraging, and I’d like to thank all staff – in particular the ward managers, matrons and our specialist tissue viability team for showing clear leadership and commitment to improving care for our patients.  Pressure ulcers can be very damaging and distressing for any patient and the news that we have improved in this area is fantastic. We also recognise that we must continue to drive this work forward into the next two quarters, and carry on the good work to improve patient health and wellbeing.”