Pressure injuries (also called bedsores or pressure ulcers) are injuries to skin and tissue caused by prolonged pressure. Preventing pressure injuries from occurring is one of the goals set by Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in order to deliver an optimal experience for seniors.
Pressure injuries most often develop on skin that covers the bony areas of the body, such as the hips, ankles, heels and the tailbone. Hospital patients and people who have a medical condition that limits their ability to change position, such as those confined to a wheelchair or bed, are at risk for developing pressure injuries.
Seniors are at an increased risk of pressure injuries because of changes to the skin that are part of the normal aging process. Pressure injuries can lead to serious infections, or further complicate existing medical conditions, resulting in longer hospital stays and delays in returning home.
“At our Hospital, we’ve made seniors’ health a priority. We strive to provide an environment that minimizes the vulnerability of senior patients and promotes safety, comfort, independence, and functional well-being,” said George Fieber, Nursing Practice Lead. “That’s why we are so diligent about pressure injuries – regular assessments and early intervention to prevent these types of injuries is one way we provide quality care.”
Our nurses use an evidence based assessment tool called the “Braden Skin Risk Assessment” to identify those patients who might be at risk for developing a pressure injury. Patients with limited physical mobility are assisted with repositioning and with hygienic care. Patients assessed as being at high risk may also be referred to other members of our interprofessional team including specialist physicians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical dieticians and our clinical nurse specialist for wounds.
Tips to reduce your chances of developing a pressure injury in the community or hospital include:
To learn more about how the Hospital has prioritized Seniors’ health, visit http://www.tbrhsc.net/tbrhsc/accountability-and-public-reporting/annual-report/2015-2016-tbrhsc-annual-report/#seniors-health.