Loyola nurses eliminate pressure ulcers in premature infants

News Archive November 20, 2013

Loyola nurses eliminate pressure ulcers in premature infants

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Infants born prematurely are at a significantly increased risk for pressure ulcers, yet nurses at Loyola University Health System have been able to eliminate this threat for patients in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

“While the toll of pressure ulcers has been recognized in adults for decades, the same concerns have only been reported in premature infants in recent years,” said Lisa Festle, MSN, RNC-NIC, APRN/CNS, LUHS. “Our nurses recognized the serious threat pressure ulcers pose to infants and implemented a program to protect the delicate skin of our youngest patients."

Pressure ulcers occur at a rate as high as 25 percent in high-risk premature infants. These infants are at a greater risk for pressure ulcers due to their extremely low birth weight, immature skin, need for medical equipment, immobility and imbalances in oxygen and blood flow. The most common locations for pressures ulcers in premature infants are the back of the head and the openings of the nose.

Loyola nurses gathered a multidisciplinary team of specialists to review literature and identify skin risk-assessment tools, skin-care products and pressure-reducing aids to help prevent pressure ulcers in this vulnerable population.

The group modified the Neonatal/Infant Braden Q Skin Risk Assessment Tool to detect pressure ulcer risk. They then tested the tool, developed intervention guidelines, implemented electronic medical record documentation and provided ongoing education to nurses.

“The health-care system has not had a consistent way to assess the risk for skin breakdown in premature infants,” said Barbara Hering, MSN, RNC-NIC, APRN/CNS, LUHS. “This program allowed our nurses to more easily recognize at-risk patients and implement interventions earlier to prevent pressure ulcers and subsequent complications.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.
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