What is Stop Pressure Ulcer Day?

This Thursday, 18th November is Stop Pressure Ulcer Day across Europe. Here at Beechfield Healthcare, we are delighted to support our colleagues in the Mater and Tallaght hospitals as they join fellow healthcare colleagues across Europe to raise awareness of pressure ulcers.

Held on the 3rd Thursday of November every year, and under the auspices of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, Stop Pressure Ulcer Day is an important event as it brings into sharp focus the major health implications for patients that develop pressure ulcers.

Pressure ulcers, also known as bed sores, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers are wounds caused by constant pressure on the skin and underlying tissues, arising because the person sits or lies in one position for too long. They usually develop on body parts such as the elbow, heel, hip, shoulder, back, and back of the head.

People with disabilities who are bedridden, or use a wheelchair, have a high risk of developing pressure ulcers and this can lead to further disability. People with Spinal cord injuries (SCI) often develop pressure ulcers, and in this population, pressure ulcers are a serious complication, which often lead to regular hospitalisations, multiple surgeries, and other devastating complications.

Constant monitoring of those at risk is essential to preventing pressure ulcers.

The Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), which measures the total number of years lost due to specific diseases or harm, was recently measured at over 13,000 in England for pressure ulcers alone, and it was estimated that the treatment amounted to 4% (€2.1b) of the health budget.

Beechfield Healthcare are the authorised national distributor in Ireland for the Drive DeVilbiss Hybrid-Power Mattress which is an important medical aid in helping to prevent pressure ulcers.

The Hybrid-Power mattress combines the pressure redistribution properties of high specification foam, with alternating pressure relief. Clinicians can quickly and easily provide immediate therapy by initiating a ‘step-up/step down’ process without the need to provide an additional specialist mattress, therefore removing the need to swap out and clean mattresses, positively benefiting both staff and patients.

The aim of pressure ulcer prevention strategies is to reduce either the magnitude, or duration, of pressure between a patient and his (or her) support surface (i.e. the interface pressure), or both.

This may be achieved by regular manual repositioning alone (e.g. two-hourly turning), or combining this with utilisation of pressure-relieving support surfaces such as cushions, mattress overlays, replacement mattresses, or whole bed replacements, which are widely used in both institutional and non-institutional settings. Support surfaces are used with the aim of redistributing pressure, reducing shearing forces, and controlling the local microclimate.

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare carried out a single site large scale evaluation that demonstrated the clinical benefits and positive organisational impact of utilising the Hybrid-Power pressure redistributing mattresses in an acute setting. You can read the clinical outcome here.

This Thursday, we hope you’ll say hello as we work with our colleagues in the Mater and Tallaght hospitals to raise awareness of and bring attention to this important aspect of hospital care.