From 'bed sores' to pressure ulcers

Featured article - 18 March 2019
By Belinda Black, CEO of Sheffcare

By Belinda Black, CEO of Sheffcare

A guest blog about the Quick Guide for registered managers of care homes

I started my nurse training in 1986 and worked as all students do in a wide range of areas. I was taught how to treat bed sores as part of that training - that’s what we called pressure ulcers then. I was taught a whole host of weird and wonderful ways to treat pressure ulcers, egg whites, oxygen and hot oil! As you can no doubt imagine many of these treatments were unsuccessful!

As practice became more evidence-based our treatment and understanding of pressure ulcers developed, along with better outcomes for our service users. This is why I welcome this new guidance from NICE and SCIE: ‘Helping To Prevent Pressure Ulcers’. I really like these guides - they are based on evidence, well written and more importantly in our ‘Social Media Age’, quick to read.

Prevention is important

Of course we wouldn’t need to focus on the treatment of pressure ulcers if we could prevent them from arising in the first place - which is why a great deal of our energy and effort should be targeted on prevention. This guide outlines who is at an increased risk of developing a pressure ulcer; and as care providers we need to ensure that all care staff and service users understand risk factors; along with how a pressure ulcer develops.

Movement is critical to helping prevent pressure ulcers and we need to work with our service users to ensure that they keep ‘moving’. The guide gives clear guidance about the benefits of repositioning.

Sometimes though, despite our best efforts at prevention, pressure ulcers can develop. The reasons for this can be complex and varied. Professional input from the primary care teams are essential. In our care homes we have worked with staff on a React to Red Initiative. It focuses on educating as many people as possible about pressure ulcers and how to avoid them. It’s well worth sharing amongst your networks.

I hope you find the guide as helpful as we have in our charity.

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