Pressure Ulcers (Bedsores)
A Curse Worth Exorcising
Pressure ulceration continually challenges the health professional to deliver the appropriate preventative care. Unfortunately, bed sores remain an unacceptably frequent occurrence in many Australian health institutions and costs the country over $350 million per annum!
Despite the availability of risk assessment tools, pressure relieving and reducing aids and a considerable body of preventative information, the curse of pressure ulceration and bedsore development has not been exorcised!
There are a few uncomplicated clinical practices which the health professional can follow to prevent pressure ulceration.
They include determining the level of patient risk, the method for redistribution of patient body weight, and restoration of tissue tolerance, metabolic balance and adequate nutrition. When these patient care factors are addressed successfully the likelihood of preventing bedsores is greatly enhanced.
Clinical assessment supplemented by the risk assessment tools, are the foundation for a quality skin care program.
Pressure Relieving Measures
Each skin care program should be specifically tailored to the individual patient's requirements. General clinical measures including repositioning the patient, inspecting the skin on a regular basis, and assessing for impending skin damage are all important interventions.
Pressure relieving devices protect against the effects of external mechanical forces, pressure, friction and shear. There is a huge variety of such devices and of course a large variation in cost. However, prevention is considerably more cost effective than treatment of a pressure ulcer.
In any institution, it is likely that there will be the need for a large number of simple cost efficient devices for low risk patients, and a small number of considerably more expensive mechanical devices for the few high risk patients.
One of the most remarkable devices available for pressure ulcer/bedsore prevention is the Australian Medical Sheepskin.
It is suitable for low risk patients, with its pressure reducing interface providing low friction and excess moisture absorption.
Accompanied by appropriate pressure relieving clinical measures, the Australian Medical Sheepskin has the propensity to assist in the prevention of bedsores.
The new Australian Standard for medical sheepskins will not only ensure comfort and assist in pressure ulcer prevention, but will also prove to be cost effective through the product's increased durability, even in demanding clinical conditions.
Every health care facility should consider its range of pressure relieving and reducing devices, including the Australian Medical Sheepskin.
It also makes economic sense. In this era of modern wound management, with preventative scales, protocols, pressure relieving devices - including the Australian Medical Sheepskin - all available to assist the health professional, there is little defense for pressure ulcers developing!
Pressure ulceration in Australia certainly requires improvement! The emphasis has to be on educational programs teaching the preventative methods, which will lead to a reduction of incidence of these bed sores.