Preventing Pressure Ulcers in the Emergency Department

Patients needing hospital admission can often spend many hours waiting in the emergency department for an inpatient bed to become available. Yet despite the fact that a significant number of these patients are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers, few EDs have prevention protocols in place.

Over the last year IHLM has, therefore, supported nursing leaders in the emergency department at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden – which has one of the largest EDs in Europe – who have tried out four simple but effective nurse-led changes that can significantly reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers when integrated into ED workflow:

  • early risk assessment – we made sure that patients get a risk assessment the moment paramedics hand them over to the triage nurse
  • pressure-relieving equipment – we introduced special mattresses that redistribute pressure around the patient’s body, protecting sensitive tissue areas
  • intentional rounding (also called care or comfort rounds) – we ensured individual patients were checked at hourly intervals
  • prophylactic dressings and incontinence pads – were made available at every bedside to protect patient’s skin from moisture

We’re pleased to report that these changes led to both measurable improvements in pressure ulcer prevention and increased staff engagement.

Would you like to discover more?  Our recommendations have recently been published in a peer-reviewed article in the journal 
Emergency Nurse.  It’s an open access article so just click here to download your free copy

This is just one example of the dozens of quality and safety improvement projects we help our programme members complete each year through expert coaching and mentoring. Click the links to discover more about our upcoming quality improvement and patient safety programmes.

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