Hospital bids to rid the wards of pressure ulcers
- Credit: IAN BURT
A King's Lynn hospital has launched a campaign to alert patients and visitors to the risk of bedsores – and what they can do to try and prevent them.
Nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) revealed that patients can start developing sores, also known as pressure ulcers, within just an hour of being in their beds.
As a result nurses have introduced a range of schemes to ensure people are regularly moved or 'turned' so pressure spots do not develop into more serious open wounds.
They have also shown patients graphic models of how bedsores –which are caused when a large amount of pressure is applied to a small area of skin over a short period of time – can wear the skin down to the bone and become infected.
Jane Parker, tissue viability specialist nurse lead at the hospital in Gayton Road, King's Lynn, said the worst case scenario for bedsores could be death if not treated in time.
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'We don't have a problem any more than any other hospital but it has always been an issue,' she said.
'If you fall ill, you just want to stay in bed and that puts you at risk of not eating and drinking as much as you should.'
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She said part of the reason the skin breaks down is because people do not have the right nutrients going into their body if they are not eating and drinking as they usually would.
That, combined with the lack of movement in bed when patients are ill, puts patients at greater risk of developing a wound.
Mrs Parker's advice is for people to 'make sure you change your position and make sure you eat and drink well'.
She also urged people to look for early signs of bedsores and tell nurses so they can take appropriate action. When patients are brought into the hospital, they are given a 'turning' schedule depending on the level of need identified in their initial assessment.
With high-risk patients, nurses also apply mankuna honey to their skin to try and prevent the risk of it breaking down.
New flexible 'moving' mattresses were also brought into the hospital earlier this year to reduce the risk of pressure spots to the skin.
Despite that Mrs Parker warned: 'Sometimes you can put all the preventative measures in place and, if the patients are so unwell, they can still develop pressure ulcers.'