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#StopThePressure 2017-07-09T13:59:29+00:00

Eliminate Avoidable Pressure Ulcers – #StopThePressure

Avoidable pressure ulcers are a key indicator of the quality of nursing care. Preventing them happening will improve all care for vulnerable patients. The ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign was launched by NHS Midlands and East as part of their ambition to make life better for patients. The campaign is now being rolled out nationally, with NHS England, NHS Improving Quality and Haelo joining forces with other partners.

Hello, my name is Ruth May and I am the Regional Chief Nurse at NHS England, Midlands & East. My nursing background is that of a theatre nurse with nearly 30 years’ experience of working in the NHS.

In my current role I am responsible for providing senior clinical leadership and advice to nurses and midwives working across the health and care system in the Midlands and East region. I am also a Founder Trustee of Pressure Ulcers UK, a new charity campaigning to reduce the incidence of patient harm by increasing awareness of avoidable pressure ulcers to the public, health and care sectors.

Patient safety and experience are really important to me and this is why since 2012, I have been leading a campaign to reduce avoidable pressure ulcers for the people and patients we care for. Avoidable pressure ulcers are a key indicator of the quality of nursing care and preventing them happening will improve all care for vulnerable patients. We know that Pressure Ulcers:

  • Cause patients long term pain and distress
  • Can mean longer stays in hospital. In addition
  • More than 80% of pressure ulcers are preventable
  • Treating them costs the NHS more than £1.4-£2.1 billion a year (figures: NICE, from 2004)

A high profile campaign to raise awareness of the risk factors and early warning signs of pressure ulcers started and we engaged all acute hospital trusts within the region in the collection of data on new pressure ulcers. Through this we were able to measure the impact of the campaign and over time, we observed a 50% reduction in new pressure ulcers being developed.

This was incredible, to see such an impact on patient safety and I was particularly inspired to see student nurses, triggered by a Tweet, take a lead in sharing this important information with their peers. These are our nurse leaders of the future and it is exciting to see how their passion for patient safety is driving them forward in their quest for excellence in patient care. Other regions started to engage people through events and development of www.stopthepressure.com now provides a hub of helpful materials, tools and resources.

However we are now seeing a plateau in the data with variations emerging across Organisations, so need to work together to understand whether this is due to focus being lost, or some other factors that we have not yet identified. The pockets of good practice all over the country need to be connected up and work done where gaps are identified. We need to improve the capturing and measurement of data, engaging all regions in building a comprehensive national picture.

Achieving lasting results relies on us sharing our experiences beyond the NHS into social care and the private care providers to ensure no matter where someone is receiving their care, the same high standards of quality will be apply. A national nursing collaborative has been established with representation from a number of major stakeholder organisations. We are working together to shape the strategy and determine the most effective ways to embed this in all caring organisations.

The ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign is now becoming a real vehicle of change and through the newly established Patient Safety Collaboratives, we have the perfect opportunity to prioritise Pressure Ulcer Prevention and achieve long term success for all patients in our care.

Visit the website, look at the tools and resources and get involved in making this a priority for your team or organisation. I urge you to take action for this year’s Fab Change Day for the benefit of everyone in your care – today, tomorrow and forever.

Take action

  1. Tweet #StopthePressure that you’re committing yourself to this campaign
  2. Read the resources at www.stopthepressure.com including SSKIN — Five Simple Steps to Prevent and Treat Pressure Ulcers, and the Learning to Stop the Pressure resources
  3. Take one of our suggested actions (listed below), such as playing the Stop the Pressure boardgame in your organisation, engaging with your local Patient Safety Collaborative, or encouraging a Board member to shadow a Tissue Viability Nurse for ½ day on Fab Change Day 19 October 2016.
Here are some suggested actions you could take in support of #StopthePressure:
  • Visit www.stopthepressure.com and start to share the resources in your own organisation, making use of the many helpful tools and resources available.
  • Organise a meeting of your stakeholders to discuss ‘Stop the Pressure’ and agree what action you can take to reduce avoidable Pressure Ulcers where you work.
  • Start a ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign in your organisation and measure the impact.
  • Play the ‘Stop the Pressure’ Board game in your organisation, to raise awareness and engage your stakeholders in the prevention and management of Pressure Ulcers.
  • Set up a ‘Stop the Pressure’ network and think about other parts of the trust where Pressure Ulcers aren’t commonly thought of as an issue (such as Maternity and Neonatal Units) to ensure all colleagues are engaged.
  • Contribute to the growing evidence base around Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Pressure Ulcer Management by seeking out evidence and good practise, sharing your learning, experiences, stories and outcomes from your Pressure Ulcer Prevention activity.
  • Engage with your local Patient Safety Collaborative. Many of them have identified Pressure Ulcers as one of their priorities for 2015/16 and find out how you can connect in with their work.
  • Discuss ‘Stop the Pressure’ with your regional Health Education England colleagues and see how they are engaging with the national work to improve education and the nursing curriculum about pressure ulcer prevention and management.
  • Ask your student nurses for feedback on their knowledge and awareness of pressure ulcers from their training. Involve them in driving improvements.
  • Engage your Board members in ‘Stop the Pressure’ and invite them to talk to a patient/carer about the impact and effects of having a pressure ulcer.
  • Take a Pressure Ulcer patient experience story to a Board meeting to demonstrate the importance of adequate staffing levels in the delivery of safe and high quality care.
  • Seek out further evidence to support the elimination of avoidable Pressure Ulcers and get involved in disseminating evidence and good practise on Pressure Ulcer Prevention throughout your organisation, your network and your locality.
  • Spend 1hr on NHS Change Day 2016 lying on an ‘alternating mattress’ to experience how it feels. Share your feedback within your organisation and use this to drive improvements in Pressure Ulcer care.
  • Encourage a Board member to shadow a Tissue Viability Nurse for ½ day on Fab Change Day 2016 to see the impact of Pressure Ulcers and the important work that they do in treating them. Ask them to share their experience at the next Board meeting.

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