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Home > News > NHS staff in Cumbria helping to stop the pressure

NHS staff in Cumbria helping to stop the pressure

Posted on Thursday 16th November 2017
Pressure ulcer

Pressure ulcer display

Today (Thursday 16th November) marks World Pressure Ulcer Day and NHS staff in Cumbria are coming together to raise awareness on pressure ulcers and to provide advice on how to prevent them occurring in the first place.

Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bedsores, are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue that are primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin. They can happen to anyone, but usually affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time.

The Community Tissue Viability Team at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) has been working closely with those who provide patient care in the county to deliver free education on skin care, pressure ulcer prevention and management. The Tissue Viability Team in Copeland introduced the pressure ulcer training called AVOID last year and ever since have been rolling this out across Cumbria to as many people as possible.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has also been working hard to protect their patients from pressure ulcer damage. The Tissue Viability team introduced special clocks to remind staff to reposition patients, as well as educating them on the best practice to prevent pressure ulcers developing. This has led to a fall in pressure ulcer damage of 70 percent in the ward it was trialled on and will be rolled out across the Trust.

There will be stands in the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven where staff, patients and visitors can go to find out more information on pressure ulcer prevention on World Pressure Ulcer Day and the Tissue Viability teams will be there from 10am – 2pm to answer any questions about pressure damage prevention.

In the south of the county, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has introduced a number of new initiatives to reduce the number of pressure ulcers acquired by patients in its hospitals. These include the introduction of Wound Workshops for acute and community staff, the development of a special tool which supports staff to properly assess and manage pressure ulcers and moisture damage, and the introduction of the Red-Stripe Scheme that uses a specific type of dressing that reduces the chances of a pressure ulcer developing in patients who need to wear a cast or splint. Thanks to all this hard work and other developments, as of June 2017, the Trust had the lowest incidence of heel ulcers for two years – an area that was previously a concern. 

Ann Austin, one of the tissue viability nurses at CPFT who has been helping to deliver the pressure ulcer training said:

“As a Tissue Viability Nurse it’s really important for me to get out there and raise awareness on pressure ulcers and provide the right support that will make a huge difference to patients.

“Over the past two years we have educated over 2000 health care professionals and care home staff on the first signs to look for when a pressure ulcer is developing and the methods to prevent their development. We have also been working with carers and patients in the community to prevent pressure ulcers so they can take ownership and manage their health care better with our support.

“All this work would not have been possible or as successful without the full support of all the staff in the community teams. We hope with the education using the Copeland AVOID Pressure Ulcers Model we will continue to see a reduction in the severity and incidence of pressure ulcers.”

Both Ann and Zoe Fullgar, District Nurse at CPFT have supported many patients with pressure ulcers, including an elderly lady and her daughter from Copeland. The patient’s daughter said:

“When I first met Ann and Zoe, my Mam was suffering from a pressure sore and had to spend three weeks in hospital until it improved but when she came home the sore got worse again. With the help of Ann and Zoe and all their support and advice they gave me as a carer my Mam’s pressure sore has now fully healed and she can enjoy going out for walks in her wheelchair again. If it wasn’t for Ann and Zoe, my Mam would still be suffering, they were fantastic”.