Wednesday, 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.”

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.