Each year, hospitalized patients are increasingly more ill, and as such, rely on nurses and other staff to keep them safe from harm. One such harm is pressure ulcers. Over the past several years, several initiatives have been adopted which have reduced the number of hospital acquired pressure ulcers at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
Pressure ulcers occasionally start while patients are in the operating room. That is why the surgical services staff recently evaluated the pads on their operating room tables and those used for positioning of patients. New pads have been purchased, and additional pads are budgeted for each year. In addition, Surgical Services adopted a process which screens patients to identify those who are at increased risk for developing a pressure ulcer during a procedure, allowing the nursing staff to take additional preventative measures.
The Wound and Ostomy nurse clinicians have implemented several new initiatives to decrease the incidence of pressure ulcers in the facility. Skin care algorithms were developed and introduced to the nursing staff, providing nurses with 24/7 access to best practices for patients at higher risk for developing a pressure ulcer. In addition, the Wound and Ostomy nurses ensure that the most effective skin care products are being used for prevention and treatment purposes. The Wound and Ostomy nurses are also available for consultation as needed.
The results of these efforts, combined with vigilance on the part of nursing staff, show a substantial decline in pressure ulcer prevalence at Aspirus Wausau Hospital over the past several years, to well below available benchmarks. Although considerable success has been achieved with the initiatives taken, the work continues on. Nurses accept the sacred trust given to them by patients to protect them from harm.