Nurses tackle painful pressure ulcers

Tuesday 8 September 2015

KIm Sanders turns a patient to prevent pressure ulcers

The number of people with painful pressure ulcers in Lambeth and Southwark’s care homes is falling thanks to a campaign by Guy’s and St Thomas’ nurses.

Since the Zero Pressure campaign began in April 2014, all 14 care homes in the two boroughs have gone more than 100 days without a resident developing a pressure ulcer. 10 of the 14 have not had a pressure ulcer for more than a year.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ tissue viability nurses trained care home staff to recognise the early signs of pressure ulcers and to act quickly. Pressure ulcers can affect people who sit down for long periods or who are unable to get out of bed. Symptoms include redness and skin blistering over bony parts of the body.

Loraine Cumberbatch, Unit Manager at Uplands Care Home in Streatham, says: “Our staff feel more confident and know what they need to look for in terms of pressure ulcers. If they’re unsure, they’ll pass concerns on to our nursing team who can easily get advice from Guy’s and St Thomas’ tissue viability team.”

Claire Acton, Tissue Viability Nurse Manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “Around half a million people in the UK will get a pressure ulcer every year and people over 70 are particularly vulnerable. Our nurses are training local care home staff, carers and relatives to recognise pressure ulcers early on so we can improve the quality of life of local people.”

The tissue viability nursing staff also care for local people with pressure ulcers in their own homes.

Tim Kalvis, 49, a journalist from Kennington, developed multiple pressure ulcers when multiple sclerosis left him bedbound.

“Because I’m in bed most of the time, and I can’t feel my legs, I didn’t know how bad the bed sores were. I had seven pressure ulcers and could literally see the bone, with the worst one being on my hip.

“The district nurse referred me to the tissue viability team. They came to see me and put Manuka honey on the pressure ulcers and now they are healing.

“There’s a big difference to being in hospital and being in your own bed at home. I have good carers and support here and that’s absolutely vital.”


Last updated: September 2015

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