Hospital acquired pressure ulcers are a major challenge for medical practitioners. If identified early, they can often be treated swiftly but if left unnoticed they can be extremely painful and debilitating for patients. If allowed to develop, they can also have a significant financial impact on healthcare trusts and operators, with the cost of treatment in the UK ranging from GBP 1,064 (Stage I) to GBP 10,551 (Stage IV) per patient2.
Pressure ulcers may develop as a result of many contributing factors, including the mechanical effects of pressure, shear, friction and / or moisture on the skin. Within emergency departments (ED) and intensive care units (ICU), where patients are already suffering from other acute or emergency medical conditions, these factors are more prevalent than in any other part of the hospital environment.
The year of proof: results from randomised control trial
Traditional pressure ulcer prevention protocols, including using special support surfaces, patient rotation, improved nutrition and, of course, regular skin inspections may still result in a pressure ulcer prevalence of some 13%3.
A study by Professor Nick Santamaria of the University of Melbourne & Royal Melbourne Hospital, recently published in the International Wound Journal4, has now demonstrated the important role that silicone foam dressings such as Mölnlycke Health Care's Mepilex® Border Sacrum and Mepilex® Heel play in preventing the development of pressure ulcers in an ED and ICU environment.
The study followed 440 trauma and critically ill patients who were admitted to the emergency department and subsequently transferred to the intensive care unit. Mepilex Border Sacrum and Heel dressings were applied to patients in the intervention group (221 patients) on admission to the ED, inspected daily and changed every three days in the ICU. The control group patients (219) were subjected to standard pressure ulcer prevention procedures.
Of the patients in the intervention group five developed pressure ulcers, an incidence of 3.1%. In the control group, 20 developed patients pressure ulcers, an incidence of 13.1%.
In addition to the reduction in pressure ulcers, researchers also reported that the treatment was cost-effective. The total cost for treating patients in the control group was USD 25,173 whilst the total treatment costs for the intervention group was only USD 6,920, over 70% lower.
Professor Nick Santamaria from the University of Melbourne & Royal Melbourne Hospital comments on the results of his study:
"The results of this large RCT demonstrate that by intervening as soon as the patient reaches the hospital we are able protect this vulnerable group throughout their stay in hospital. This includes time spent in the Imaging Department and the Operating Room. The dressings from Mölnlycke Health Care offer clinicians an important additional preventative treatment for stopping hospital acquired pressure ulcers."
Tod Brindle awarded for work in pressure ulcer prevention
Tod Brindle, a nurse clinician at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health one of the pioneers of facilitating procedural changes to help reduce the prevalence of hospital acquired pressure ulcers, has been rewarded for his work by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). He was recently awarded the ANCC’s award the National Magnet Nurse of the year Award for his contributions to a hospital-wide practice change that has led to a reduction in hospital acquired pressure ulcers from 8% to 2.4%5.
Jill McLean, Global Therapy Manager for Prevention at Mölnlycke Health Care, said:
"I'm delighted to see Tod Brindle’s innovative and original work, using Mepilex Border dressings for prevention, being furthered into strong, clinical evidence that can be used to develop new standards of practice and help prevent pressure ulcers around the world."
21 November 2013: Stop Pressure Ulcer Day
Mölnlycke Health Care is proud to be supporting the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Board's annual Stop Pressure Ulcer Day, being held on 21 November, 2013.
For the second straight year, Mölnlycke Health Care will be hosting a webinar in conjunction Stop Pressure Ulcer Day. The event, entitled "The Year of Proof", will focus on the clinical trials published during the last twelve months, with a particular focus on the use of wound dressings as a means of hospital acquired pressure ulcer prevention. What are the contributing causes of pressures ulcers? How can dressings play an active role in preventing them? Can the use of dressings become a new standard of care?
These are some of the questions that Professor Carol Dealey of the University of Birmingham will discuss during the evidence-based and solution-focused event. Other guest speakers include Professor Nick Santamaria, Evan Call and Tod Brindle. Visit European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel's website to read more about Stop pressure ulcer day.
Download a infographic about pressure ulcers (pdf, 246 KB)
- As an adjunct to current prevention protocols.
- Bennett, G., et al. The cost of pressure ulcers in the UK. Age Ageing 2004, 33(3): 230-235.
- Kalowes, P., et al. Use of a soft silicone, self-adherent, bordered foam dressing to reduce pressure ulcer formation in high risk patients: a randomized clinical trial. Poster presentation at Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (Fall), Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, 2012.
- International Wound Journal, March 2013.
- Brindle, C.T., Wegelin, J.A., Prophylactic dressing application to reduce pressure ulcer formation in cardiac surgery patients. Journal of Wound Care Ostomy & Continence Nursing 2012; 39(2): 133-142.