Prevention of Pressure Ulcers in Patients
There are many types of infections that attack the human body in a hospital setting. For instance, there are nosocomial infections that attack patients when they are admitted in hospital for totally different illnesses. The most common nosocomial infections include; Hospital Acquired Urinary Tract, Ventilator Associated Pneumonia and the Hospital Acquired Pressure ulcers. This Literature Research discusses Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers as a common problem in practice, and also addresses how it is prevented. Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers are also referred to as Bedsores.
Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers (Bedsores)
This is a nosocomial infection that mainly attack patients who are under intensive care in our hospitals. These ulcers have also become a national concern as a result of increased treatment cost, patient morbidity as well as many other reimbursement issues (Engels, 2014). Pressure ulcers are acquired during hospitalization, hence the name. They are evaluated to be either in Stages III or IV, and they are considered to me among a number of nosocomial infections that are preventable (Mallah et al, 2014). According to Mallah et al (2014), there were at least 257,412 cases of Pressure ulcers that were reported in the United States of America in the year 2007 alone. What was even more bothering was the fact that each case cost a patient approximately US$43,180. Research shows that many physicians in the United States of America have been underestimating pressure ulcers. As a result, most of them even see them as a nursing issue and sometimes even fail to include them in their discharge summaries used in by coders for bailing purposes (Stotts et al, 2013).
Prevention of Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers
Practices aimed at preventing pressure ulcers have been around in our hospitals for some time now. However, practices used in preventing them are still an area of heightened focus in medical care in the United States of America (Spetz et al, 2013). According to Stotts et al (2012) many hospitals tend to use surveillance methods when evaluating the prevalence rates of Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers. However, these surveillance methods are usually carried out at intervals (mostly quarterly), meaning they would not provide sufficient data on the infection patterns. This would also mean that the data would lack frequency necessary for evaluating system level interventions. The most common treatment method for the Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers is through antibiotic therapy where the wounds are treated in open air and allowed to heal naturally.
According to Lyder et al (2012), Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers are easier to prevent than to treat. The best ways of preventing ulcers include; changing position, through proper nutrition, checking one’s skin and quitting smoking.
Changing the position of a patient regularly and frequently is one of the most effective ways of ulcer preventions. If has already developed ulcers, changing his/her position regularly helps in avoiding putting further pressure on the wounds, improving their chances of healing (Sullivan & Schoelles (2013). In many hospitals, there is a general rule where all wheel chair users are required to adjust their positions every 15 to 30 minutes. Bed ridden patients are also required to change their positions every 2 hours as a means of preventing bedsores.
Consumption of a healthy diet is also another effective means of preventing pressure ulcers. Foods containing adequate amounts of vitamin and proteins help in preventing skin damage and also speed up a patient’s healing process (Spetz et al, 2013).
Checking a patient’s skin regularly
If a patient has known pressure ulcers risk factors, it is important to check their skin daily. This is mostly for discolored areas on their skins suggesting pressure ulcers. Stotts et al (2012) suggests that this practice should be mostly conducted on patients who have underlying conditions such as diabetes or nerve damage. These authors argue these factors may cause numb feelings or dampen pain in some parts of the patient’s body.
Quitting smoking is also another effective way of preventing pressure sores according to Engels (2014). Engels argues that smoking usually reduces the levels of oxygen in a patient’s blood weakening their immune system, leading to increased chances of developing pressure ulcers.
Engels, D. (2014). Prevention of Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers in an Operating Room Setting. In AISC 2014 International Conference on Advances in Interdisciplinary Statistics and Combinatorics.
This work mainly discusses the means of preventing pressure ulcers in patients in ICU’s and operating rooms. Engels argues that patients in operating rooms are mainly the ones at risks of developing ulcers in for most of them are either critical and cannot move themselves without the help of a nurse. He suggests regular and frequent moving of patients as one of the most effective way of preventing pressure ulcers in an operating room setting.
Lyder, C. H., Wang, Y., Metersky, M., Curry, M., Kliman, R., Verzier, N. R., & Hunt, D. R. (2012). Hospital‐Acquired pressure ulcers: Results from the national medicare patient safety monitoring system study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60(9), 1603-1608.
This literature work addresses Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers as a significant healthcare concern. These authors argue that hospital acquired pressure ulcers are undermine patients’ safety in healthcare facilities. They also show different statistics on trends of pressure ulcers in different major hospitals across the U.S from 1990s to 2011. Their statistics prove that indeed hospital acquired pressure ulcers are a major health concern.
Mallah, Z., Nassar, N., &Kurdahi, B. L. (2014). The Effectiveness of a Pressure Ulcer Intervention Program on the Prevalence of Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers: Controlled Before and After Study. Applied nursing research: ANR.
These authors discuss several programs and healthcare plans aimed ate preventing hospital acquired pressure ulcers. They have also analyzed the effectiveness of each of these interventions programs in a healthcare setting. They have also analyzed the changes witnessed after the implementation of these programs in comparison to when they didn’t exist.
Spetz, J., Brown, D. S., Aydin, C., & Donaldson, N. (2013). The value of reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence: an illustrative analysis. Journal of Nursing Administration, 43(4), 235-241.
This literature research seeks to address the value of reducing pressure ulcers on patients being nursed at home and also in hospital settings. This research also discusses the prevalence rate of this infection in patients. They argue that chances are a patient may develop pressures ulcers from 48 hours after hospitalization, 30 days after an operation to even 3 days after discharge. Therefore, they insist on the development of effective pressure ulcers preventive measures in all healthcare facilities.
Stotts, N. A., Brown, D. S., Donaldson, N. E., Aydin, C., &Fridman, M. (2013). Eliminating hospital-acquired pressure ulcers: within our reach. Advances in skin & wound care, 26(1), 13-18.
This literature addresses main methods of eliminating pressure ulcers at home and also at healthcare facilities. They mainly focus on both treatment and preventive methods of controlling pressure ulcers. This literature shows use of antibiotics as well as consumption of a healthy diet as effective treatment methods for pressure ulcers. It also addresses the different methods of preventing this infection on wheel chair and bed-ridden patients.
Sullivan, N., & Schoelles, K. M. (2013). Preventing in-facility pressure ulcers as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review. Annals of internal medicine, 158(5_Part_2), 410-416.
This literature discusses the four different methods of preventing pressure ulcers as a patient safety strategy. It also highlights that there are about 150,000 cases of pressure ulcer in U.S hospitals every year. It also puts the incidence rate of this infection to about 3 to 7 in every 1,000 patient admissions. This literature portrays pressure ulcers as one of the biggest threat to patient safety in hospital settings, and empathizes on the need of adopting effective ulcers prevention means in healthcare facilities.